ON THIS DATE - 1 Feb (1995) - 3000 Dunlin were at Shell Key.
(all about the bird life of Pinellas)

Jan 31st - Wall Springs/Wm. E. Dunn Water Treatment Facility. Meet at Wall Springs Park at 7:30 AM  (CAS).

Feb 7th - Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.  Meet at 8 AM in the main parking lot for this monthly field trip into this St. Petersburg-owned preserve.  Time - 2 hours.  (SPAS).

Feb 28th - Possum Branch Preserve.  Meet at 7:45 AM.  Field trip kicks off at the entrance to the preserve.  (SPAS).

Mar 7th - Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Meet at 8 AM in the main parking lot.  (SPAS).

Mar 7th - Moccasin Lake Preserve. Meet at 8 AM in the parking lot.  (CAS).

Mar 28th - Fort De Soto Park.  Meet at 8 AM at the flag pole at the park headquarters building.  $5 entrance fee to the park.  (SPAS).

Mar 28th - Honeymoon Island State Park.  Meet at 8 AM in the parking lot behind the McDonald's at Alt. US 19 and Curlew Road.  $4 to $8 entry fee to the park.  (CAS).

CAS - Denotes Clearwater Audubon sponsored

SPAS - Denotes St. Petersburg Audubon sponsored 


     For years they would arrive on Valentine's Day but probably due to climate change the martin researchers are saying they are migrating sooner.  In 2013 they arrived on February 1st. Last year they arrived here on January 28th and this year on January 25th.
     The first birds back can be males or females but will always be adult birds. The adult arrivals typically precede subadult arrivals by 4-6 weeks and usually even longer (8-10 weeks) in the south.  GPS tracking shows Purple Martins migrate much more quickly than originally predicted.  Some get all the way from their wintering grounds in Brazil to a breeding site in northern Pennsylvania in just 2 weeks!  Birds from Pennsylvania commonly make a Gulf of Mexico crossing between the tip of the Yucatan peninsula to Louisiana in spring and fall a distance of some 600 miles of non-stop flying.  Birds breeding on the eastern seaboard in VA and NJ usually travel through FL and island-hop through the Caribbean. As you might expect, these different routes represent different "challenges" and dangers for the martins.
-- The above from an e-mail we recieved from Tom Bell this week. --