Hi everyone! Week 3 has been full of birds and alligators! I am told it is mating season here and that is why I am seeing so many gators now. I must say it makes my birding even more adventurous! I saw many of the beautiful birds I saw in weeks 1 and 2 AND the Roseate Spoonbill I have been searching for! Still no sign of the Painted Bunting and I am running out of time! It was cool to see Larry Therrien’s name (Western Mass eBird reviewer) on eBird as I was searching through recent local sightings! You can check out my eBird lists for January 18th-24th and earlier on my eBird profile link on my Robin’s Nest page.

I traveled further for some of my adventures this week but Port St. Lucie is still a hot spot for birds too! I took less walks in my little neighborhood but I did go back to my parents’ neighborhood of Vitalia as I am always eager to see what birds are visiting there. I got to close enough to hear some neat birds and watch them hunt for food this week too! I saw about 65 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks fly into the Vitalia clubhouse lake and caught their awesome whistling sounds on video. There were also tons of Ring-necked ducks, herons, and ibises everywhere again. Anhingas are also in abundance now. I found out they are also called snake birds down here! I saw a few Wood Storks this week-they are so big!

The highlight of my Port St. Lucie birding this week was Sandhill Crane Park! I went back to see the eagle family and saw SO much more! There were the usual large groups of Glossy Ibises, some Cattle Egrets, and all 3 types of herons. I saw the Bald Eagle working on his nest and noticed another large nest closer by. It was a Great Horned Owl nest! I met a man who said someone from National Audubon had just left. She explained that the owls would harass the eagles and that the owls’ night vision gives them an advantage over the Bald Eagles. I was surprised to learn that the owls would win a battle with eagles! I also saw some beautiful Limpkins hunting for clams in the water. My favorite was the Roseate Spoonbill (lifer) I have been searching for. I thought it was a statue until it spread its glorious pink wings and flew across the pond! I stopped in a parking lot for Lydgate Park on my way home and saw my first Wilson’s Snipe!

My husband and I went to Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area in Okeechobee. I saw another 2 more lifers. There were 8 Gray-headed Swamphens nesting in the long marshy grass. They have such beautiful colors. I also think I saw my White-tailed Kite but am waiting on verification. I saw some beautiful Caspian Terns fly over searching for lunch. Many herons were hunting at my level. I caught a Great Blue Heron catching a huge fish! I don’t even know how he can swallow it! I saw my first Belted Kingfishers of 2023. I heard a Mallard which is rare here. I also heard Purple Gallinules but couldn’t see them in the reeds. We had a close-up encounter with a few alligators lazing in the sun. I was amazed by how close the birds got to them. We saw 10 alligators in a half-mile stretch!

I traveled to Merritt Island to see my friend this week too. I saw a coiple birds in her yard. Eastern Phoebes are everywhere now! On the way there, I stopped at Viera Wetlands in Melbourne. It was beautiful. I saw SO many nesting birds. There was a central island FULL of nesting Great Blue Herons, Anhingas and Roseate Spoonbills! I saw my first Forester’s Tern and a Savannah Sparrow too. I will continue to travel further out for my last few days in search of more new birds and my elusive Painted Bunting. I posted some neat videos this past week. I shared the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks noisy arrival and my clamming Limpkin to my Facebook page. I posted a Great Egret hunting to Instagram. I also posted a video of me walking near gators to my TikTok and a few videos to my YouTube channel! Enjoy the pictures and audio below. Wish me luck as I am running out of time! I am not looking forward to birding in the cold soon. Take care, Robin.


Loggerhead Shrike Sandhill Crane Park
White-winged Dove Vitalia
Anhinga Viera-listen for vibration sound in beginning!