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Help ID a bird? (1 Viewer)

Hi. I am new to the forum. I saw a bird in Florida, in 2010 with my son, that I am still trying to ID. I figured to ask for help here because it's a large Forum and hopefully there are birders from the US.

We were at Manatee Springs State Park, in Florida, in the month of July. This park is on the Suwanee River. We took the trip to Florida to bond and to bird. My son loves birding to this day. At one point, we saw a large group of Swallow-Tailed Kites work their way down the river. Just awesome. We were also seeing many sturgeon jumping out of the water.

So then we saw a vividly black and white bird flying along the river on the far side, from right to left (South). As an experienced birder (life list 400+, birded from Alaska to Guatemala, and a trained National Marine Fisheries Marine Mammal Observer), I thought it was a loon. A long slender bird, flashing black and white, flying with rapid wingbeats, maybe 10-20 feet over the water. No gliding, no change of direction. My son and I saw this for as much as 20 seconds. The distance, as checked on Google Earth, is about 400 feet. The weather was bright sun.

The problem is, there are not supposed to be loons there in July. Even unusual storms and weather patters go opposite to causing such a thing. Can anyone help ID this?
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
You might have a look at this website.


This is a site where people report nature observations. I've added some filters to the search, so it's now showing all species of birds seen in Florida, in June, July, and August. You can go to the map, zoom in to where you were, and hit "redo search in map" to make it more precise. I've used this as an identification tool before- put a broad range of area and time of year, then skim down the list of species (not the list of individual observations!) for something that looks likely. Then, look up the likely suspect online to see if other pictures match. You have a better mental image than you can convey to us, so you're the best option for finding out what that was.
 
You might have a look at this website.


This is a site where people report nature observations. I've added some filters to the search, so it's now showing all species of birds seen in Florida, in June, July, and August. You can go to the map, zoom in to where you were, and hit "redo search in map" to make it more precise. I've used this as an identification tool before- put a broad range of area and time of year, then skim down the list of species (not the list of individual observations!) for something that looks likely. Then, look up the likely suspect online to see if other pictures match. You have a better mental image than you can convey to us, so you're the best option for finding out what that was.
I looked, but there's not a lot of data from that area.
 
Just what you'd expect from a flying anhinga. Big chunk of white on the upperwing, flashing into view with each wingbeat.


Perfect?
If I had a multiple choice for this, I would say no. I've seen these birds too. The one I saw was more like half-white. And it did not glide at all, did not change altitude. It was really moving quickly. So much like a loon... but they could not be there right?
 

Butty

Well-known member
Well... I can't see what's wrong with female or immature anhinga: front end (head, neck, chest) buff (which you may have interpreted/remembered as white); wings flashing black/white; long/slender; steady direct flight. Bingo. But I leave that to you.
Consider also of course the multiple-choice option which so many of us take, so often... 'Unidentified'. (y)
 
Well... I can't see what's wrong with female or immature anhinga: front end (head, neck, chest) buff (which you may have interpreted/remembered as white); wings flashing black/white; long/slender; steady direct flight. Bingo. But I leave that to you.
Consider also of course the multiple-choice option which so many of us take, so often... 'Unidentified'. (y)
Yes, I am going to conclude with "unidentified." I was updating my field guide and remembered this one. Always good to have a mystery bird. Thanks for the help!
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
I'm just going to jump in here and wish you a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)
We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
 

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