December 1, 2009 - Hit the road about mid-day to travel up to Ft DeSoto Park which is located in Tampa Bay. My goals were for the day were tempered by recent BRDBRAINS posting of a great horned owl, scissor-tailed flycatchers and cedar waxwings, plus any possible relocates of the long-billed curlew, snowy plovers, lesser black-backed gulls or caspian terns. I also was interested in locating any common loons or grebes. See this connect to BRDBRAINS message with an attached photo of the Great Horned Owl at north beach http://listserv.admin.usf.edu/listserv/wa.exe?A2=ind0911&L=brdbrain&T=0&F=&S=&P=146537
Arrived after two plus hours and started by checking out the tierra verde pond where I had Pied-Billed Grebes, lots of FOS Redheads, Ring-Necked Ducks and Lesser Scaups. Also lots of cormorants, various waders and a very active osprey looking for lunch.
Went to East Beach first which did not have any great numbers of shore birds but there was a good variety though. Could see a number of diving birds off-shore. Could make out a loon and some cormorants, but other birds were uncertain. A scope is a must.
Next to the dock to see if I could get any better views of diving birds. Sighted the Broad-Winged Hawk on the wire near to were postings had already mentioned past sightings. The dock was loaded with fisherman and the usual birds like Brown Pelicans, Snowy Egrets, and Cormorants found near to fishing piers. But the diving birds were not around. Last January we had a couple off Common Loons right by the dock, but the windy, chilly weather that had keep the dock clear of fisherman that day.
Spent about an hour looking for the Great Horned Owl at north beach. Had heard a faint hoot but could not locate the bird. Till I met a nice lady at the parking lot as I was giving up and moving on to my next stop. She inquired if I was looking for the owl and I shared how my frustrated search was a bust on the owl, but did yield five warblers. So within five minutes of exiting her car and with the aid of a walker had successfully located the bird. It was all a matter of correctly following the post directions to its roost. Many thanks to her.
Before leaving I double checked the east beach again and found the viewing of the diving birds off-shore Had improved. Several cormorants were obvious, as was a loon, but the duck shaped diving birds needed to be deciphered. They were dark above and a clearly white bottom was definitive. My chooses were between horned grebe and buffleheads. At first I elected for buffleheads, but later concluded that they had to be horne grebes. The use of a scope would have probably solved the dilemma.
My List (62) - Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Horned Grebe, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Broad-winged Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Plover, Wilson's Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Fish Crow, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird