Spring Migration Underway

Debra Hess
Yankee Freedom II Naturalist

Warblers are starting their northbound spring treks and bird watching activity is increasing dramatically in the Dry Tortugas National Park. The last week in February brought our first Ruby Throated Hummingbird of 2008, with many more to follow. Several Northern Parula Warblers, Blue Grey Gnatcatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers have been seen. Herons and egrets are moving north. Numerous Black-bellied Plovers and even a Belted Kingfisher were observed the first two days of March. We also sighted a Yellow Throated Warbler and a Cape May Warbler.
On a recent visit to Loggerhead Key I observed a Northern Harrier, an immature Broad Winged Hawk and numerous Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers. A recent visit to Long Key found magnificent Frigate birds busy with their chicks as well as nest building and courtship. Lots of Noddy Terns have arrived on Bush Key and are busy building nests. Sooty Tern chicks should start hatching this week.

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