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!
Tuesdays 8-10 a.m. from January 15 through April 9.
- 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
2018 Bird Walk Report ~ by Don Chalfant
Another winter of Tuesday morning bird walks has just completed, so its’ time for reflecting back on the season. Last week, a participant asked if we had ever postponed a walk due to rain. Surprisingly, the answer is NO: in ten years, we have yet to have rain on a Winter Bird Walk. A great omen!
Tuesday morning walks at IRLP began on January 9 and continued through April 10. Each walk started at 8 a.m. and ended about 10:30. The number of participants on the walks varied from a low of 8 to a high of 35, with an average of 27 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 21 different states, 2 Canadian provinces, and one other country (Bahamas).
81 species were encountered during this year’s walks. The highest number encountered on any one of the walks was 46. The average number encountered was 38, a new high. The cumulative total of bird species encountered on the walks of 2009 through 2018 now stands at 130, with the addition of one new species: Yellow Warbler. Participants during those years came from 37 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 4 other countries!!
As impressive as the numbers are, they do not reveal the excitement we experienced when we encountered an Eastern Screech-Owl on every one of the 14 walks – hearing it on 13 and seeing it on 12. Another day we saw 3 American Oystercatchers!
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. In addition to finding birds for all to see, these three offer unique talent – Dave and Roger making the pertinent comments of experienced naturalists and Elza taking extra time to see that all participants, especially beginners, get to see each and every bird. The continuing success of our bird walks is due largely to these three.
Every year, I thank MDC for their continuing sponsorship of these birding activities. This year, our tenth, 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!!!).
2018 Bird Species
Common Loon | Horned 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 | Black-crowned Night Heron | Wood Stork | Roseate Spoonbill | Sandhill Crane | Blue-winged Teal | Red-breasted Merganser | Hooded Merganser | Spotted Sandpiper | Greater Yellowlegs | Willet | American Oystercatcher | Ruddy Turnstone | Black Vulture | Turkey Vulture | Osprey | Bald Eagle | Northern Harrier | Red-shouldered Hawk | Sharp-shinned Hawk | Cooper’s Hawk | Ring-billed Gull | Laughing Gull | Bonaparte’s Gull | Royal Tern | Forster’s Tern | Common Tern | Least Tern | Eastern Screech-Owl | Mourning Dove | Eurasian Collared Dove | Common Ground Dove | Belted Kingfisher | Red-bellied Woodpecker | Yellow-bellied Sapsucker | Downy Woodpecker | Northern Flicker | Pileated Woodpecker | Ruby-throated Hummingbird | Chimney Swift | Blue Jay | Fish Crow | American Crow | Eastern Phoebe | Great Crested Flycatcher | Tree Swallow | Barn Swallow | American Robin | Gray Catbird | Brown Thrasher | Northern Mockingbird | Carolina Wren | Blue-gray Gnatcatcher | Ruby-crowned Kinglet | Tufted Titmouse | European Starling | White-eyed Vireo | Northern Parula Warbler | Yellow-throated Warbler | Yellow-rumped Warbler | Black & White Warbler | Prairie Warbler | Palm Warbler | Yellow Warbler | Common Yellowthroat | Northern Cardinal | Common Grackle | Boat-tailed Grackle | Red-winged Blackbird