22nd January to 6th February - Disney World

For my birthday present in 2015, Stuart took me to Disney World.  This was the first holiday in a while that wasn't a birding trip and it took a little while for me to stop carrying binoculars everywhere and checking every bird out!  It didn't help that I hadn't been to Florida before so the vast majority of the birds were likely to be lifers.  If I've IDed anything incorrectly, please let me know!

Downy Woodpecker (I think)

Lovely coloured squirrel

Mourning Dove


My first American Robin
The hotel we stayed in in the first week was called Coronado Springs and it had a suprisingly large bird population.  We quickly became familiar with the Palm Warbler, with its bobbing tail much like a Wagtail.  There were also a pair of Red-bellied Woodpecker, a resident Red-shouldered Hawk and a Pied-billed Grebe in the lake behind.  One morning whilst I was looking at a Collared Dove, we had a fly over of Sandhill Crane, the only we saw during the trip.

Northern Cardinal

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Female American Goldfinch?

Sandhill Crane

Pied-billed Grebe
Animal Kingdom was conducive to wild birds and we saw more Palm Warbler, a Downy Woodpecker and many wild White Ibis.  Queueing one morning, Stuart yelled at me from the other side of the gates to turn around and behind me flying low over the lake was my first ever Bald Eagle.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Yellow-throated Warbler

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Eastern Phoebe?

Anhinga
A trip to Cape Canaveral brought me tantalisingly close to Merritt Island and I had my nose pushed against the glass of the coach on the way over hoping to see a manatee (my second favourite marine mammal) but to no avail.  However around the space centre there were Roseate Spoonbill, Boat-tailed Grackle (one of which landed on my hand and tried to steal a chip) and an Osprey nest.  I was promised Alligator, but as became a theme throughout the holiday, there were none to be seen.  On the trip back however, we did spot a lovely little Armadillo snuffling around as well as Glossy Ibis, Wood Stork and Wild Turkey.

Osprey

Boat-tailed Grackle

Lesser Scaup?

Royal Tern

Nine-banded Armadillo
I persuaded Stuart to let me go out properly birding one day and although I wasn't able to negotiate Merritt Island (next time!), we headed down to the Disney Wildnerness Preserve, which turned out to be lovely.  Nobody had heard of it at main Disney and had no idea how to get there so we Uber-ed there, only realising when we arrived there that we had no internet or numbers for other taxi firms.  Excellent.

Tufted Titmouse

Northern Cardinal (and glove)

Common Buckeye

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Northern Mockingbird
There are three marked routes at the Preserve, a simple one, a medium one and a rather long one.  We opted for the rather long one, but we spent so much time looking at birds that by the time we got to the turn off, we chose the medium route to get back in time for dinner that evening.  The first bird we saw before we even got on the trail was a Loggerhead Shrike, swiftly followed by a bush full of Palm Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler (we tried calling it Myrtle Warbler and nobody had a clue what we were on about).  A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker put on a great drumming show, whilst there was a very inquisitive Northern Mockingbird hopping around (which actually had us confused for a short while as we had been seeing only juveniles back at the hotel).  Around the corner we went down to the edge of lake, keeping an eye out for Alligator and Belted Kingfisher, but neither were to be seen.  On the path back up to the main trail there were a plethora of birds including Little Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture and a Bald Eagle overhead.  We also saw a long black snake, but I was so excited I squealed 'LOOK AT THE SNAKE' and the snake promptly leapt into the grass.  Actually leapt.  I am that terrifying.

Prairie Warbler

Eastern Phoebe?

Eastern Phoebe?

Northern Mockingbird

Prairie Warbler
On our final day we were very sad to be leaving, but were rewarding with two great sightings on the way to the airport.  The first was our one and only alligator (I was starting to believe they were a myth), it was only a small one but great to see!  The second was the amazing sight of a Bald Eagle chasing an Osprey low over water, absolutely incredible!

Black Vulture

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Pine Warbler

Loggerhead Shrike

Limpkin at Epcot

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