April was a month with lots of travel. The first trip was to the University of Florida in Gainesville for a conference called “From Stars to Life”. I stayed an extra day at the end to go birding along La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and a few other hotspots in the Gainesville area. The final tally was 53 different species of birds, almost half of which (23) were species I saw for the first time ever. Particularly numerous were various types of herons and egrets: great blues, little blues, snowies, greens, cattles, and more. Blue-winged teal, American coots, white ibis, red-winged blackbirds, and boat-tailed grackles were also present in large numbers. Among the 23 “firsts” were Carolina wrens, anhingas, black-necked stilts, palm warblers, a limpkin, eastern towhees, a prairie warbler, and a pileated woodpecker. Impressive in a rather different way were the many alligators along the trail – and sometimes almost on it.
Below are a few photographic highlights from La Chua. The full album can be found in the usual location.