Birdwatching while fishing

falconer57

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Don't know how many birders there in the forum. I'm a retired bird biologist and been an avid birder since 1976. I know my recent report on Cuba fishing didn't get any responses about the fishing but I forgot to mention the birds seen. Birdwatching while flats fishing isn't optimal as one should be looking at (and through) the water! Only one Peregrine and one Merlin, several Caracaras and vultures round out the raptors. Of note were the Roseate Spoonbills, Scarlet Ibis and (wild)Flamingos! One day we waded to within 100yds of a large flock of Flamingos before they got nervous and moved off. Again, as I've noticed in all my tropical trips of late, a dearth of neo-tropical migrants. Quite a difference from the migratory passerine studies I did in the late 1970's. Sad.
 

LOC

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Well now your user name makes sense.:)

Im not a hardcore birder. I don’t ever make outings to bird but if you fish you’ll wind up in the same places as the birders.

I will record locations and new species to me when seen. I’ll usually ask the birders if there is anything special in the area. Birding really has grown in the last two years. I would call it a pandemic activity.

One of my highlights was getting buzzed by a Peregrine that was coming in hot and low. It was close enough that I actually ducked. The sound was fantastic but I thought the bird had lost its mind because it’s trajectory put it inline on a empty beach.

Well so I thought till it swooped in and grabbed a little plover off the sand. I guess he just needed a snack.

The Osprey at my summer spot can actually become a nuisance. This is where we sight fish. They see what we see and blamo! Well that’s spots dead for a while.

The cool and interesting thing about birding as in you report is. Once you start to keep track you immediately notice all the new species when you travel to a different area.
 

Ard

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Hi,

You can find a thread pinned at the top of the Lodge Den (off topic) forum called, 'What's In Your Yard'

Lots of bird talk there over the years and with winter here there will be more I'm sure. I've been what could be called an avid birder since 1979 but the interest trails all the way back to childhood. Very seldom that I don't have a pair of binoculars handy, even carry a pair of Zeiss 10X25 minis in my tackle bag in the boat in case I spot something new.

My part of Alaska isn't the most fertile birding area I've ever lived in but it does offer some seldom seen species up from time to time ;)
 

Rip Tide

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People go ga-ga over the elusive loon, but I often see these bandits up close and personal when they're trying to steal my catch.
They can be pretty brazen, especially out on the remote brookie ponds, swimming just a rod length or two away

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trev

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I think the most unusual bird experience I've had while fishing was a couple summers ago when a grandson and myself watched an older crow teach a juvenile how to catch trout. Until that happened I had no idea that crows fished. The kingfisher and bank swallow den/nest holes always intrigue me as does the heron's pigtail/queue. I never get pictures though.
 

mike126

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Not unusual but I always seem to jump a little when egrets buzz me on the stream. I think they know I’m fishing in their spot. But I do enjoy watching them hunt down fish.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

karstopo

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I’m into the birds for sure. See my avatar! I took the photo on my place. A number of these Barred owls have big important and passionate meetings most everynight just outside my bedroom. Yellow Crowned Night Herons raise their young in the pine tree over my driveway, their blue egg shells decorate the drive, along with the much more “fragrant” crawfish remains. Anhingas, a.k.a. snakebirds submarine around in our lake or rather their lake helping themselves to the bluegill. Great egrets try to not catch the attention of the Great Blue herons and use their greater maneuverability to escape the big Heron’s wrath. Bald Eagles harass the Osprey out of their catch. Sharp shinned hawks hunt the carolina chickadees, Red shouldered hawks hunt the green anoles and coachwhip, Mississippi kites put the hurts on the cicadas and dragonfly, all this and much more on my 6+ acre live oak/yaupon holly Columbia bottomland tract.

I‘ve participated in the annual bird count here. Our 15 mile diameter count here has topped the nation for most species. We have a lot of wintering birds here along with the resident birdlife. I basically live on and surrounded by bird infested woodlands and wetlands. I’m sandwiched just between two NWR, Brazoria and The San Bernard, add to it the Justin Hurst and Nannie Stringfellow state wildlife management areas. Birds are hard to miss around here.
 

karstopo

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Black Capped Heron right?
Yellow Crowned Night Heron. These evidently are crawfish specialist.
I do see the very similar looking Black-Crowned Or Black Capped Night Heron out in the salt marsh at times. These Yellow-Crowned Night Herons stalk ditches, shorelines and low areas looking for crawfish. Last year, I had two pairs nest in this pine tree, in the years before it was just a single pair.
 

Rip Tide

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How about bird "non-watching"?
I got my ass bit while wading one time by a momma Canada Goose when I backed up to the tuft where there was a nest.
Good thing that was back in the neoprene days. :sneaky:
 

thom

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Sounds like the birding in Cuba was interesting. Any place that has Flamingo is worth a visit. There was a long time group of Flamingo the second island down from Florida Bay’s First National Bank for many decades. That island is protected from entry. The fact that Flamingo were there was not widely told. Boats might idle by for a glimpse, but fisherman carefully watched for anyone who would harm the birds. One or another hurricanes have displaced them now. There was always a debate as to whether those Flamingo had escaped from a Miami park, or were wild. Having seen storm transported Flamingo in Louisiana Sabine Refuge my guess is they were a Cuban population storm blown. Are Flamingo a marker for Bonefish habitat? Andros has a history of aircraft harassing the birds so that place might not apply.
 
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falconer57

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Sounds like the birding in Cuba was interesting. Any place that has Flamingo is worth a visit. There was a long time group of Flamingo the second island down from Florida Bay’s First National Bank for many decades. That island is protected from entry. The fact that Flamingo were there was not widely told. Boats might idle by for a glimpse, but fisherman carefully watched for anyone who would harm the birds. One or another hurricanes have displaced them now. There was always a debate as to whether those Flamingo had escaped from a Miami park, or were wild. Having seen storm transported Flamingo in Louisiana Sabine Refuge my guess is they were a Cuban population storm blown. Are Flamingo a marker for Bonefish habitat? Andros has a history of aircraft harassing the birds so that place might not apply.
Flamingos sure share the same habitat as Bonefish but probably feed on smaller "stuff" in the water column(I'm guessing). I saw a Flamingo on San Salvador Isl Bahamas back in 1977 but had no witnesses to back me up. Most of the U.S. sightings are arguably escapees from domestication. I was thrilled to see them wild, in natural habitat. And let me note, they were bright pink, unlike some of the birds seen in Florida vacation parks.
 

Curmudgeon

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I wouldn't call myself a birdwatcher, but when I am fishing, I watch birds with great interest, as I do other wildlife, plants, insects, geology, and more. Developing a broad interest in nature means there's always something interesting to see, and the more I know, the more interesting nature gets. Smaller and more common wildlife is as fascinating as charismatic megafauna if you really stop and watch. It was a great moment for me when I was on a safari game drive and my young daughter excitedly called for the guide to stop the vehicle. When he asked what she had seen, she happily shouted "dung beetles!" and pointed to one rolling a ball out of a mound of elephant dung.
 

Ard

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Yellow Crowned Night Heron. These evidently are crawfish specialist.
I do see the very similar looking Black-Crowned Or Black Capped Night Heron out in the salt marsh at times. These Yellow-Crowned Night Herons stalk ditches, shorelines and low areas looking for crawfish. Last year, I had two pairs nest in this pine tree, in the years before it was just a single pair.
I was pretty sharp on shore birds when I lived along the Chesapeake Bay but that's been nearly 27 years and I'm slipping ;)
 

AZFalconer

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Wife and I are avid bird watchers and falconers. This time of year it's a struggle to get out fishing because it's time to start flying the hawks 3-5 times a week. But when we are fishing, we'll often just stop and listen to a call or watch something come and drink out of the stream, or watch the cooper's hawk or kingfisher fly up the stream. Last summer on the Henry's, Pam caught a nice fish and had it within a rod length of the boat and an osprey came down and appropriated it. Best fish of the day and we lost it. LOL. But that was OK; it was worth it to watch that happen...
Charlie
 

Lamarsh

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I'm an avid upland and waterfowl hunter, and I have a loft of racing pigeons, so I'm always looking around at all the birds because I love them. Often it's waterfowl constantly jumping down stream on a river as we drift, creating a bit of an annoyance for fishing, but I always appreciate their presence nonetheless--even if it's a gaggle of mergs ready to gobble up fish, they're still beautiful to me. One of the biggest treats here in Michigan is when you get to see a pileated woodpecker. They are enormous! And then there are the birds you don't often see, but hear, such as the ruffed grouse--it's rare here in Michigan to float a northwoods river without hearing grouse drumming throughout the day. And if you know what to listen for, at dusk at the right time of year you can hear woodcocks' bizarre bussing bleats. All part of the wonderful experience, and it makes slow days on the water that much better.
 

Ard

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Wife and I are avid bird watchers and falconers. This time of year it's a struggle to get out fishing because it's time to start flying the hawks 3-5 times a week. But when we are fishing, we'll often just stop and listen to a call or watch something come and drink out of the stream, or watch the cooper's hawk or kingfisher fly up the stream. Last summer on the Henry's, Pam caught a nice fish and had it within a rod length of the boat and an osprey came down and appropriated it. Best fish of the day and we lost it. LOL. But that was OK; it was worth it to watch that happen...
Charlie
Hi Charlie,

Oddly enough I have fished around the Osprey many times in the lower 48 and almost daily with Bald Eagles watching me closely and they haven't tried to rob my leader yet but there's always this next season coming. I have had some eagles get pretty curious and I really don't remember catching a fish while I had one right nearby.

I did however witness something that I may never see again a number of years ago. I have no pictures because I was driving a jet boat through a rocky river when it happened but .............. The story (among others) is located in this old blog post: It's About Time & Eagles and Cold Nights
 

Curmudgeon

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Wife and I are avid bird watchers and falconers. This time of year it's a struggle to get out fishing because it's time to start flying the hawks 3-5 times a week. But when we are fishing, we'll often just stop and listen to a call or watch something come and drink out of the stream, or watch the cooper's hawk or kingfisher fly up the stream. Last summer on the Henry's, Pam caught a nice fish and had it within a rod length of the boat and an osprey came down and appropriated it. Best fish of the day and we lost it. LOL. But that was OK; it was worth it to watch that happen...
Charlie
Legal issues aside, could an Osprey or Sea Eagle be trained to fish the way falcons are trained to hunt? When I lived in Kenya, a friend of mine pointed out an African Fish Eagle far off in the distance, killed a bass, held it up in the air for a minute or so, and then threw it in the water near the boat. The Fish Eagle launched from the tree and retrieved the fish. I'm sure convincing a bird to return the fish uneaten would be a lot more challenging, but it was certainly beautiful to watch.
 
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