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November 19th Birding With David Simpson Newsletter

"Pelandgic" Birding

November is the peak month for “Pelandgic” birding on the east coast of Florida.  What’s “Pelandgic” birding you say?  “Pelandgic” birding is a term coined by a friend of mine, Charlie Ewell.  If you are looking for pelagic (ocean going) birds from the comfort of land, you are pelandgic birding, my kind of sea birding!  

It’s all about the wind, northeast wind that is.  But it’s not just local northeast winds that produce the best days.  Watch for a high pressure system off the coast of North Carolina with the clockwise rotation of winds creating a conveyor belt of migrating birds coming out of the Canadian tundra and crashing into Florida’ east coast.  Looking at the coast, you want to be north of Cape Canaveral to maximize the concentration.  South of the Cape, the birds can be a bit more scattered after being pushed back east.

Northern Gannets, like the one seen here on the upper left are often the stars of the show.  A good day in late November or early December might produce 1000’s in a day.  Waterfowl of nearly any kind will pass by in mixed species flocks, the likes of which you will never see on surface waters.  One of my most interesting memories of pelandgic birding was seeing a tiny little Green-winged Teal leading a southbound flock of pot-bellied Black Scoters.  Shearwaters sometimes come close enough to be identified; Cory’s is the most common, but Audubon’s or Great are also sometimes seen.  Perhaps the most unique phenomenon we are blessed to see is the hundreds or thousands of jaegers, mainly Pomarine, passing by every year.  Don’t expect to always see the birds up close, though.  Many times, the birds will be far offshore and low on the water.  Learning silhouettes like the Peregrine Falcon to the lower left here is key to successful pelandgic birding.  Jaegers pose a particular challenge as they are often close to the surface and very far out. 

Studying up ahead is a good idea. The Seawatching Guide by Ken Behrens and Cameron Cox is the best guide I have seen.  Don't let the bulk and the comprehensive nature of the book intimidate you. It might take a couple reads and some follow up in the field to cement the ideas, but it is well worth it.  Another  way to learn your pelagic birds is to hire a professional bird guide, such as David Simpson. 

Birding with David Simpson Nominated for Best Eco-Adventure

We are pleased and honored to announce that Birding with David Simpson has been nominated for Treasure Coast Magazine's Best Eco-Adventure contest. If you have been out birding with us and enjoyed the trip, please go here (after November 3rd), click on Recreation, then Best Eco-Adventure, and vote for us. We are so happy and excited to be nominated and look forward to your continued support.




We have released our 2020 Nature of Indian River County 14-month calendar featuring Dee's photographs. Click here to purchase your copy today!




Birding with David Simpson Coming Events

  • November 22, 2019: Birding Hotspots Tour.  Dee will be leading this trip solo. It is aimed at beginning birders. Meet at Ditch 13 Gallery and Gifts in Fellsmere (located on Broadway next to Marsh Landing)  at 8:00 a.m. and carpool to a location to be determined, depending on where the birds are. Trip will last 3 hours and cost of trip is $15 per person.
  • December 6, 2019: Birding Hotspots Tour.  Meet at Ditch 13 Gallery and Gifts in Fellsmere (located on Broadway next to Marsh Landing)  at 8:00 a.m. and carpool to a location to be determined, depending on where the birds are. Trip will last 3 hours and cost of trip is $15 per person.



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