Kite Tales July 2018

ISSUE NUMBER 21 • July 2018

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Kite Tales

The monthly newsletter of the

Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail

Okeeheelee. Scott Scheinhaus
Scott Scheinhaus at Okeeheelee Nature Center

Wings Over Florida Certificate

Recently, Savanna Christy, the Wings Over Florida Coordinator, was excited to see an application for the Kite Certificate. This means that the applicant, Scott Scheinhaus, had seen over 350 bird species in Florida! She asked Scott about his birding adventures, and he was happy to share!

 “As a native Floridian, I grew up not realizing what a birding paradise Florida was. While living in Miami Springs, I remember many ‘green birds’ that are seen there. It wasn’t until much later that I was able to appreciate these winged wonders. My passion for birdwatching began in 2005 at Okeeheelee Park. I had a hard day at work and needed to decompress, so I thought a little pre-evening stroll at the park would do me good. At the nature center, I encountered a man with binoculars looking intently at something. Being curious, I asked what he was looking at, and he pointed to the feeders. I had never met a ‘birdwatcher’ before and this person did not fit what I thought a birdwatcher would look like. It turned out he was a retired NYPD officer. I later learned that the birdwatching ‘bug’ knows no boundaries, and those who have it come from many different backgrounds. Shortly after, I then bought my first pair of binoculars.

“I then began exploring the parks of Palm Beach County and found many birders that took the time to point out the birds that I was not noticing. I then bought a field guide. Now I was hooked. 

“Soon after, I discovered the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. I began chasing rarities that would pop up around the state. Most of the sites where these rare birds were, happen to be sites along the trail. I began applying for the Wings Over Florida certificates. They are a strong incentive to get out there and see what I could accomplish. At the time, 350 birds seemed unreachable, but slowly, one level at a time, I got there.

“Finding 350 birds took me all over the state, from the Dry Tortugas to Jacksonville to Tallahassee and everywhere in between. Because of the birds, I visited places in Florida that I would otherwise have never gone to.

“My 350th bird was a Sprague’s Pipit at the Apalachicola airport. My birding journey to #350 is filled with meeting wonderful people who were so willing to help and share their knowledge. Whenever I am out there with my binoculars in hand, if anyone comes up to me out of curiosity, I make sure to take the time to share my passion for Florida’s birds. I hope to ignite this passion in others, as that retired NYPD officer did for me back in 2005 at Okeeheelee Park.”

If you would like to share your Wings Over Florida story, please sent it to

spotted turtle. Mark Kosiewski
Spotted Turtle found and photographed by Mark Kosiewski

iNaturalist Report

Recently, the FWC Florida Nature Trackers Project Coordinator, Peter Kleinhenz, spotted an exciting post on iNaturalist! Peter noticed a spotted turtle had been documented in Wakulla County! This sighting was added to the Florida Nature Trackers Project, Herps of Florida. There have not been any sightings of spotted turtles in the past decades. But in the last two months, two different turtles were seen!  

The poster, Mark Kosiewski, carefully helped the old male turtle cross the road and then sent in the find to iNaturalist. This sighting will benefit researchers surveying for spotted turtles across Florida. 

Thank you, Mark, for sharing your find and contributing to this valuable citizen science project!

Bachman's Sparrow. Andy Wraithmell
Bachman's Sparrow found and photographed by Andy Wraithmell

Bachman's Sparrow

The Bachman’s Sparrow is a plain and elusive species. It is uncommonly seen throughout the Southeast, where it resides in mature pine woods and open forest habitats. Its song is pleasant and often associated with the piney woods of the South. The song is a clear, sweet whistle followed by a different pitched trill.

John James Audubon first described Bachman’s Sparrow in 1834. He named it after John Bachman, a Charleston clergyman with whom he was staying while researching Southern birds.

This bird can be found in pine lands that are managed for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Fortunately, these management activities benefit both species. Bachman’s Sparrows skulk around understory and may fly to low pine branches when flushed and can be found throughout Florida, when looking in the right habitat. Memorizing its call can be the easiest way to find this bird!

No. 4 Bridge and Fishing Pier. Andy Wraithmell
No. 4 Bridge and Fishing Pier by Andy Wraithmell

No. 4 Bridge and Fishing Pier

Trail Site of the Month: No. 4 Bridge and Fishing Pier

Hannah Buschert, the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail Coordinator, recently visited No. 4 Bridge and Fishing Pier on the way to Cedar Key. Birding is best in the late fall and winter, where the islands in the channels attract a diversity of shorebirds. However, it can be a great location year-round for wading birds. This trip yielded Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, a Tricolored Heron, a Green Heron, White Ibis, and Roseate Spoonbills — all of which were feeding around the islands.

A launch is available for paddling, making it easy to kayak, fish and birdwatch among the mangroves. This visit was later in the morning, so the Magnificent Frigatebirds, vultures and Anhingas were soaring high up in the sea breezes — so look high and low!

This is a multiuse site perfect for anglers, kayakers and canoers (outfitters are available nearby for rentals), and for birders. Make a point to stop by on your next birding trip around Levy County!

Site Address: 11311 S.W. 153 Court, Cedar Key, Florida 32625
Contact: (352) 486-5218
Site Hours, Daily: sunrise to sunset

Check out Hannah’s eBird list from this trip to No. 4 Bridge and Fishing Pier.


July 27 Project WILD and Project WET Workshop (Eustis, Florida)

Do you know about any other bird or wildlife-related events going on in Florida? Help spread the word by letting us know! Send in the times, dates, locations and contacts to for posting on the GFBWT website. 


  • Wings Over Florida Certificates
  • iNaturalist Report
  • Bachman's Sparrow
  • No. 4 Bridge and Fishing Pier
  • Events


The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a network of 510 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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