Kite Tales - June 2017 issue


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Kite Tales

the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail's monthly newsletter

Black Skimmers

Black Skimmer

The skimmers’ extraordinary bill sets it apart from all other American birds. The lower mandible is longer than the upper mandible; the skimmer drags the lower mandible through the water as it flies just above the surface. The bill is super sensitive so when it touches a small fish, snap...gulp! The Black Skimmer is one of three skimmers found in the world; the other two are the African Skimmer and the Indian Skimmer. All three species of skimmer look alike and employ the same method to catch their food. Skimmers are active through the day but what most people may not know is that they will feed at night. Their ability to catch food by touch allows them to feed in little or no light situations. Black Skimmers can be found throughout Florida. They are most often found in coastal habitats but they can occasionally be found frequenting inland freshwater lakes, rivers and man-made water bodies such as sewage treatment impoundments and large retention ponds. Florida’s Black Skimmer is listed as ‘State Threatened’ and the population is in decline. Habitat loss due to coastal development, disturbance and predation are the main threats to Black Skimmers. We can all help beach-nesting birds like the Black Skimmer be more successful. Learn more.

You can also volunteer as a beach-nesting bird steward. Learn more.

Audubon Florida are looking for shorebird volunteers in the Panhandle. Learn more.

For more information on Black Skimmers and where to find them, CLICK HERE.

    Pipevine Swallowtail by Andy Wraithmell

    Wings Over Florida: Butterfly programs

    Several trail sites around Florida are now acting as Wings Over Florida butterfly ambassadors on our behalf and will be offering field trips and/or programs at their respective sites.

    John D. Macarthur Beach State Park

    Park Service Specialist Art Carton and volunteer Cathy Beals will be leading butterfly walks on June 24th (11am) and July 29 (11am). For more details contact Art at (561) 776-7449 extension 9

    Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

    Park Service Specialist Daffney Green and volunteer Lu Dodson will be leading butterfly walks every Saturday starting on June 3rd. For more details contact Daffney at (305) 361-8779

    Bahia Honda State Park

    A self-guided option is available at this beautiful park. Ask at the ranger station to take part in the Wings Over Florida butterfly program. 

    FWC photo by Andy Wraithmell

    Got Binoculars?

    Try our trail approved binoculars from Opticron. Perfect for entry level birders and wildlife viewers. Opticron binoculars offer the enthusiast and casual user unrivalled performance and value. There are models for people interested in bird and butterfly watching, field-sports, as well as everyday users wanting a ‘close-up’ view while out walking or hiking, traveling on holiday or simply wanting to enjoy the wildlife from their kitchen window. Visit the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida website for more details on these great optics.

    A percentage of sales directly benefits the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail.

    FWC photo by Tim Donovan

    Summer Fun for Kids!

    The summer holidays are here and mums and dads are planning what to do with their kids for the next 2 months. Well, look no further! Every Wednesday we will post a fun nature based activity here on our homepage that will help keep your kids entertained. We hope you have a fun-filled memory making summer!

    Last week we posted about plaster casting animal tracks.

    This week we offer the perfect rainy day activity...coloring!


    • Black Skimmers
    • Binoculars
    • Kids activities
    • Butterfly programs


    The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a network of 515 sites spread throughout the state. The Trail is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Trail is possible thanks to dozens of federal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private landowners. Continued, broad-based support and grassroots community investment will continue to make the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail a success for Florida and for our feathered friends. 



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