*Click on photos to enlarge.*
I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get this post together, seeing as the BURROWING OWLS were one of my favorite birds during our Florida trip in early May. To be honest, Burrowing Owls were not entirely on my radar as a possibility for this trip until I was looking through the Birder’s Guide to Florida by Bill Pranty. In it, the author says that the owls are easy to locate in the development of Cape Coral, you just have to keep an eye out for the stakes that mark their burrows. I then looked on eBird to find some recent reported sightings and saw several reports from the Cape Coral Public Library. Having never been to Cape Coral, I was imagining stakes WAAAY out in the distance and maybe getting a decent look at an owl or two in the scope, IF we got lucky. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The owls are everywhere in the development, mostly on the residents’ lawns and marked very clearly with white posts and signs! Tricia and I drove around one afternoon and found several active burrows, most with owlets present. What a super experience, and to top it off, I got my only Loggerhead Shrikes of the trip in the development (no good photos unfortunately, they were all backlit).
I also did pretty well for other raptors during the trip: Osprey were absolutely everywhere, Vultures and Black Vultures were abundant, SWALLOW-TAILED KITES were numerous, I had Red-shouldered Hawks and Barred Owls at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a Cooper’s Hawk and an Adult Bald Eagle at the Naples Botanical Garden, and of course I had the SNAIL KITES and a Red-tailed Hawk near Harn’s Marsh.