Each January through April MDC volunteer and bird aficionado Don Chalfant leads guests on a trek through the beautiful Indian River Lagoon Preserve Park to search for and observe a wide variety of avian life including herons, egrets, pelicans, hawks, eagles, kingfishers and many more!
Our 2019 bird walks are now complete. Please scroll down for our annual report of what was spotted!
- Bird walks are FREE and open to the public
- No reservations are required
- Participants should bring binoculars if possible.
Bird Walks take place at:
Indian River Lagoon Preserve Park
663 Sandpiper Avenue in New Smyrna Beach
2019 Bird Walk Report ~ by Don Chalfant
Another winter of Tuesday morning bird walks has just completed, so it’s time for reflecting back on the season. Our record of eleven years and 148 bird walks without a single one rained out still stands. This year, we had to stop one prematurely but still managed to get a few more birds from under the picnic shelter. We are a persistent lot and fortunate to have had favorable weather.
Tuesday morning walks at IRLP began this year on January 15 and continued through April 9. Each walk started at 8AM and ended about 10:30. The number of participants on the walks varied from a low of 14 to a high of 41, with an average of 29 participants per walk, a new high. This year statistics were again kept on the states of origin of tour participants, with impressive results: participants came from 24 different states, 2 Canadian provinces, and one other country (Bahamas).
76 species were encountered during this year’s walks. The highest number encountered on any one of the walks was 45. The average number encountered was 35. I use the word “encountered” because some species were heard but not seen. The cumulative total of bird species encountered on the walks of 2009 thru 2019 now stands at 131, with the addition of one new species: Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Participants during those years came from 37 states, five Canadian provinces, and four other countries!
As impressive as the numbers are, they do not reveal the excitement we experienced when we encountered an Eastern Screech-Owl on 12 of the 13 walks.
Again, I’d like to officially recognize the efforts of three birders who not only attend the walks regularly, but make significant contributions to their success: David Baker, Roger Wykes, and Elza Phillips. The continuing success of our bird walks is due largely to these three.
Every year, I thank the MDC for their sponsorship of these birding activities. This year, our eleventh, we maintained high attendance and high enthusiasm for this endeavor, and again extend thanks to the MDC.
I am hopeful that the walks may continue next year, as I have truly enjoyed the experience and hope the MDC deems the endeavor worthwhile (we do!!!).
2019 Bird Species
Common Loon | Horned Grebe | Pied-billed Grebe | Double-crested Cormorant | Anhinga | White Pelican | Brown Pelican | Little Blue Heron | Tricolored Heron | Snowy Egret | Great Blue Heron | Green Heron | Great Egret | Cattle Egret | White Ibis | Glossy Ibis | Yellow-crowned Night Heron | Wood Stork | Roseate Spoonbill | Clapper Rail | Red-breasted Merganser | Hooded Merganser | Spotted Sandpiper | American Oystercatcher | Black Vulture | Turkey Vulture | Osprey | Bald Eagle | Northern Harrier | Red-shouldered Hawk | Cooper’s Hawk | Ring-billed Gull | Herring Gull | Laughing Gull | Bonaparte’s Gull | Caspian Tern | Royal Tern | Forster’s Tern | Eastern Screech-Owl | Yellow-billed Cuckoo | Rock Pigeon | Mourning Dove | Eurasian Collared Dove | Common Ground Dove | Belted Kingfisher | Red-bellied Woodpecker | Yellow-bellied Sapsucker | Downy Woodpecker | Northern Flicker | Pileated Woodpecker | Blue Jay | Fish Crow | American Crow | Eastern Phoebe | Great Crested Flycatcher | Tree Swallow | Barn Swallow | Cedar Waxwing | American Robin | Gray Catbird | Brown Thrasher | Northern Mockingbird | Carolina Wren | Blue-gray Gnatcatcher | European Starling | Blue-headed Vireo | White-eyed Vireo | Northern Parula Warbler | Yellow-throated Warbler | Yellow-rumped Warbler | Black & White Warbler | Prairie Warbler | Palm Warbler | Common Yellowthroat | Northern Cardinal | American Goldfinch | Common Grackle | Boat-tailed Grackle | Red-winged Blackbird | Brown-headed Cowbird
Here are two beautiful photos snapped by Don Chalfant at this year’s walks.
The left photo is a Yellow-billed cuckoo, and the right photo is a roseate sponbill.