Seventeen birders joined me today for a full day of birding at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County and Winding Waters Natural Area in northern Palm Beach County. We began the morning with an exploration of scrub habitat near Jonathan Dickinson’s Pine Grove campground. We quickly found several Florida Scrub-Jays, one of our top target birds for this trip. Other birds seen in this area included Blue-winged Teal, Mottled Duck, Common Ground-Dove, Ring-billed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Flicker, American Kestrel and Loggerhead Shrike. Several birds were heard only, including Downy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Carolina Wren and Eastern Towhee. A couple of Swallow-tailed Kites appeared overhead just as we returned to the parking area.
We then drove to the Kitching Creek Trail near the Loxahatchee River at the west end of the park, where we were hoping to find Red-cockaded and Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Bachman’s Sparrow and other birds that inhabit the surrounding pine flatwoods. We spent nearly an hour exploring this area but were unable to find any of our target birds (we did find a nice zebra swallowtail butterfly), so we decided to break for lunch in the adjacent picnic area. A Red-bellied Woodpecker kept us entertained during lunchtime.
After lunch, the group drove to Winding Waters, where we explored over a mile of the park’s extensive trail system. Among the birds tallied here were Blue-winged Teal, Mottled Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Purple Gallinule, Gray-headed Swamphen, Limpkin, Glossy Ibis, Osprey and Common Yellowthroat. We ended the day with 53 species, all of which are listed in this eBird trip report. Checklists for the trip were compiled by Luis Gonzalez.
Florida Scrub Jay. Photo by Luis Gonzalez