Right off the bat, up in the great oak tree next to the office sat a Great Horned Owl. This would be the first of two owl species seen for the day. At Three Sisters Springs a Barred Owl ate a Fiddler Crab while posing for us in a tree over the board walk. No manatees in the springs, but the water was crystal clear and beautiful to view. On the road leading to the springs there were Eastern Bluebirds sitting on their boxes as we drove by.
The owl wasn’t the only bird looking for a crab to eat; a juvenile, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was seen next to Idiot’s Delight Springs. Further down the board walk we spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk up in a tree.
In the sky were Chimney Swifts and Tree Swallows. A “murder” of Fish Crows flew across in the sky. The sound of uh-uh could be heard in their wake. A lone Mottled Duck flew by and as we watched it go, we could see Boat-tailed Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds over the marsh.
Lake Crystal had an Anhinga and three Pied-billed Grebes to watch. These little “tugboats” were swimming along as they dove under water and then popped up again and again.
The most common warblers were Palm Warbler seen throughout the refuge grounds as they flew from bush to bush while bobbing their tails.
Our total for the day was 37 Species on our morning outing. A good time was had by all.
President Citrus County Audubon