Our first trip as leaders turned out to be a beautiful, partly sunny day with 20 enthusiastic birders ready for discovery. We chose to travel to three major sites where parking was available: museum, cemetery, and a nearby bottlebrush tree, but distributed maps of Cedar Key if people wanted to visit more sites on their own. Most of the birds were at the museum grounds including warblers (black-throated green, black-throated blue, Northern Parula, hooded, and Cape May), 3 species of doves, and nesting osprey. Mike spotted a pair of brown thrashers and Effie photographed a gray cheeked thrush, a first for many of us. Effie also got a shot of a dickcissel that often flocks with house sparrows, but is more common in the tall grass prairies of the midwest.
Our visit to the nearby 20 foot bottlebrush tree presented many hummers, indigo buntings, orchard orioles, the first dickcissel feeding on the ground, and a clapper rail in the reeds at the end of the road.
We wanted to thank Cedar Key Audubon members, Libby and Dale, who accompanied us on two pre walks and showed us some new places to observe including the spot to find a loon (at the end of the beach pier) and that great bottlebrush tree.
When I returned home, I called Elaine Roche to hear what she found at the shore locations and airport strip: lesser scaup, semipalmated plover, sanderling, white pelican, royal tern, black skimmer, and an immature bald eagle. While driving past Inglis, she spotted a swallowtail kite, stopped the car, and then saw a small group of Mississippi kites. What a great find. Thanks, Elaine, for your persistence.
Thanks also to our visitors from Atlanta, Vermont, and Texas and the CCAS members who helped them find those flitting warblers.
Altogether we saw approximately 62 species thanks to the 20 pairs of eyes that joined us. What a great first leader trip. Thanks to you all. Fred and Carol Kirk