The Barred Owl greeted 12 birders at the parking lot. It has nested here for the past 3 years that I know of. Weather was a wee nippy in the AM, but the day turned out nice at around 65 degrees. There were Black-bellied Whistling Ducks aplenty, but only the Blue-winged Teal and a surprise of seeing a Muscovy Duck Storks, a trio of egrets, and likewise herons were spotted, The Roseate Spoonbills were in abundance as were Tree Swallows. Two of our troop decided to take the alternate route back to headquarters and were stopped by a barricade. They turned around and were stopped by a 10 foot alligator who was lying across the trail and was not about to move. A volunteer showed up and tossed a stick at the 'gator'. The 'gator' merely turned around and they had to walk around behind as he showed his displeasure by hissing at them. The eBird list of the 58 species is here. Owl photo is by Tammy Smith.
Three of us arrived the day before and experienced a very sunny 81 degree day. I took this photo of a Great Blue Heron who was either just chilling or decided that the day was just too hot and he needed a cool down. It was just odd to see the bird in this pose. The eBird list for the 46 species seen is here Total species for the two days was 65.
The mist was rising from the lake and the frost lightly covered the ground, but 6 hearty and optimistic birders ventured forth. We were rewarded with many unusual spottings- a Ruby-crowned Kinglet flashing his beautiful crown, a Baltimore Oriole, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 R.S. Hawk, 1 Coopers or Sharp-shinned Hawk,a Common Loon, Forster's Tern, Y.B. Sapsucker, Pine Warbler and many more for a total of 40 species. The eBird list is here
Then it was on to the Wastewater Treatment Facility where we saw a Bufflehead, a G. Scaup, 2 Hooded Mergansers, good looks at about 10 Meadowlarks, 2 R.Tailed Hawks [caught in the ACT!], American Kestral. This facility seems to be very reliable for Hawks and Meadowlarks. The eBird list is here
Total for the day is 50 species. The full list is on ebird.
Great start to the Morning at McKethan. 15 birders started at the parking lot . Robins, Tufted Titmouse, American Goldfinch, Sandhill Cranes, Pied-billed Grebes, etc. Most of us walked the edges that are quite deeper in water than we have ever seen it. We spotted Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Downy and Pileated, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, but not Wilson's Snipes as we have had in the past. We then checked the trail back of the restrooms and in the field off the trail an American Kestrel in his normal snag. We then continued on and had many high canopy birds. Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-and White Warblers, and the very pleasant surprise of
a Yellow-throated Warbler who was so unconcerned with our presence that he continued to wrestle with a bug to ingest. He stayed on his post. He was no more than 5 feet from us. All of the group that was present got good views. We continued the walk out to the right of the road way into the area of an open field but saw nothing that added to the list. The built up area between the two bodies of water afforded us with more view of Ch chickadees, and other warblers. We continued the walk and then ended with a total of 36 species that can be seen at this eBird link We lunched at Cedar Creek Seafood and then went to the Wastewater Treatment Facility to check out activity there.. No disappointment there. The weather had turned very cold and windy so our stay was brief and within that few minutes of birding another 13
species with the beautiful Eastern Meadowlarks in abundance. We counted the 13 species in just 15 minutes or so. The link can be seen here. The Meadowlark and Yellow-throated warbler by Fred Hileman and the group photo at McKethan was by Thomas Gulley.
Cool morning at St Marks, as usual. BUT it was not as cold as last year. 9 hearty birders arrived on site Sunday to check out some of the birds in the area. We birded the Visitor's Center and got the Brown-headed Nuthatch right off the bat and then added a few warblers. We came back to the center and learned that a once in a Blue Moon trip on an open tram would be leaving on Monday morning at 9:00 AM. We signed up and got the last nine seats, or so we thought. We continued birding and had a most remarkable birding day. Blue, Green & Cinnamon Teal, Shovelers, Am Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Redhead, Scaup, Ring-necked, Ruddy, Bufflehead, Hooded & Red-breasted Merganser and the list goes on. This day brought our total to 81!
Day two. We got to the bridges and viewed a flock of Rusty Blackbirds. The tram rumbled out from the visitor center. We had one more to join, making 10 members from CCAS on the tram. A cancellation afforded our 10 member a seat. We were going out where no vehicle is allowed along the tops of the ponds and dikes. The sightings were remarkable. I got a view of a life bird, the Eared Grebe. We traversed the back ponds and Tom Gulley got this photo of these magnificent Bald Eagles and the beautifully reflected American Avocet. He also took the group photo at the Headquarters Pond where we saw the Yellow-crowned Night Heron along with about 30 Black-crowned Night Herons.
The Krider's Red-tailed Hawk was soaring above us very soon after starting the trek to the back. Willets, Purple Gallinule, Sora, Cooper's Hawk,. Northern Harrier, White-faced Ibis, Dunlin, Black-bellied & Semi-palmated Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Wilson's Snipe, Least & Western Sandpiper, Yellowlegs, Dowitchers, and the list continues. This was one of the best in many years to come up with the variety and number of species that we had. Bottoms Road was late afternoon on Tuesday and the species list was small, but we did get a Clapper Rail and Common Loon. That 21 eBird list is here. Day one 81 at St Marks list is here. And day two St Marks is here of 79. The total for the two days was a whopping 103 species.