Recap - Sweetwater/La Chua Trail
It was a perfect morning at Wallace Brooks Park in Inverness. Seven of us gathered there and had an enjoyable time birding north along the Withlacoochee State Trail.
After making our way along the adjacent lakeside boardwalk, we arrived at Liberty Park where Fred Hileman took a group photo. The junction of the bike trail and North Apopka Ave. was active. A female Pileated Woodpecker worked a wooden telephone pole for insects. Bluebirds were on the wires. Yellow-rumped Warblers were just north of the crossing.
We stopped along the lake edge to observe a 10" baby alligator cross in front of us. Our first question was, where is mamma? After getting the photo op, we hurriedly left the area in case mamma was nearby.
About 30 yards before the first green bench on the left, an opening in the brush on the left led to a lake overlook. There was a short tree sticking out of the water. A Great Blue Heron nest was clearly visible with binoculars. A pair reared two young there last January and February. Although no adults were there when we were, they are known to visit that nest daily. January 1st or so may well find a female sitting on eggs.
Farther along the trail two of our group were checking an area of the lake for movement when just beside them the Great Egret appeared and seemed to say, "Can you see me now?" They seem to be totally unaware of the egret's presence.
The 150 yards from the bench to the bridge was alive with birds. Ruby-
crowned Kinglets hovered like hummingbirds looking for insects on
outer edges of bushes. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers mewed and gave us good
looks. A Black and White Warbler was seen by most as it worked its
way along a tree branch. A kingfisher rattled as it flew across the trail.
After returning to our cars, we drove a short distance to Cooter Pond. The boardwalk there yielded three more species. They were Black Vulture, White Ibis, and Snowy Egret. We learned there that Snowiness sometimes spew poo while flying. One does not know if or when this
newly discovered fact might become useful all of a sudden…….
In all, 45 species were identified
.Photos Courtesy of Fred Hileman & Bob Ross.
Blog by Rey Wells.
Recap - Carney Island Field Trip
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get."
Field trips are like a box of chocolates, we never know what we are going to get. The Carney Island field trip started out with blustery weather and hopes for better weather looked bleak. Looking out over Little Lake Weir did not show us any birds on or over the water. The shoreline was not much better.
We did have a number of birds in the trees surrounding the parking lot. Gnatcatchers, Chickadees, Phoebes, and a few warblers were seen. Mostly Yellow-rumped warblers in the trees and Palm warblers on the ground.
The skies turned darker as we drove over to the boat ramp area. It turned out that Hurricanes Ian and Nicole had done extensive damage to the pier and boat ramp. We were not able to walk out on the pier and the skies over the lake showed a line of dark clouds coming our way. The winds hit about that time, too, and Fred and Tim had enough. They did see a flock of Turkeys on the way out of the park, though.
We remaining six headed over to the trail to be out of the wind. The rains never did come. A few more Yellow-rumped warblers, Kinglet sand Chickadees came out to see what we were up to, and the group did get to see a nice Prairie Warbler in the trees near the picnic area. The trail was not any better for birds and after a half mile Rey said enough and headed back. He did get a few more bird on the way back. The rest of us hiked on. The good news is persistence pays off. The weather cleared, the winds died, and we started to see birds. A Bald Eagle flew over us and a Kestrel flew to a nearby treetop.
We hiked to the end of the point and headed back and after 3.5 miles the group was claiming it felt like a military forced march but what a beautiful march it was. The day turned out lovely and we did tally 27 species. Don’t ever be afraid of what is in the box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get.