Citrus Tract Recap
It was a great time, and a beautiful day for birding, in the Citrus Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest on Saturday! I was joined by four out of state birders and two birders from Hernando Audubon. We began the morning at Red-cockaded Woodpecker Cluster #9 where we had a great show from six Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, a singing Summer Tanager, and a Bachman's Sparrow who was taking a dew bath not more than three feet in front of us. After spending over an hour at this site, we headed to Stage Pond. The highlight for all at this spot was undoubtedly the family of Sandhill Cranes. Watching the baby stumbling through the reeds trying to keep up with its parents gave everyone in the group a few laughs. Next up was the Holder Mine area with highlights including an up close view of a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites and an unusual sighting, for this site, of four Wood Ducks. Next was the forest road next to the landfill where three Florida Scrub Jays made a brief appearance, and Eagles, Gulls, Vultures and other birds were rummaging through the trash. After the landfill, The Mansfield Pond area was next. This site gave great views of a singing Acadian Flycatcher and a Hairy Woodpecker, both of which are unusual sightings in this area, and an early Magnolia Warbler . The day was ended with a total of 57 species. Follow this LINK to see the complete checklist for the day.