Monday, April 12, 2010

Willets - Bunche Beach and 6-Mile Slough

Saturday - April 10th
Bunche Beach
Hooked-up with the Lee County Bird Patrol event this morning at Bunche Beach.  These walks are very informative and with Charlie Ewell leading the group you will learn your shorebirds.  I know that I did.

Beach at low tide

The tide was low and the air was a bit chilly. However, the bird density was very light for low tide.  Obviously much of our shore birds have headed north. We still had some variety though. A lone American White Pelican made a flow over as did a couple of Roseate Spoonbills. Dozens of Brown Pelican were in a feeding frenzy at the south end of the beach when we started out.  A few Double-crested Cormorants were busy diving for breakfast.  The loons and red-breasted mergansers were already gone for the season. A couple of spotted sandpipers of worked the sandy area at the north inlet. The usual waders were all present included White Ibis, Reddish Egrets, Great Egrets, etc.  Further north on the exposed mud flats were a good sized flock of Black Skimmers. A few Laughing Gulls and  lone Ring-billed Gull were flying as were three Least Terns, new arrivals for the season, plus a couple of Royal Terns and  a one Sandwich Tern. A few Black-bellied Plovers and Semipalmated Plovers were present.  Sanderlings were probably the most numerous shorebirds on hand.
Eastern or Western Willet ?

 But the time was spent concentrating on the Willets.  Both Eastern and Western Willets. Charlie enjoys teaching on the subject. This time of the year Eastern Willets are showing up as the Western Willets are moving on to their breeding grounds out west. So both breeds are present and can be confusing to separate, especially as they are in various stages of molt.

The following link is to a blog called SHOREBIRDER by Nick Bonomo, with his description on the difference between eastern and western willets. Western Willet vs. Eastern Willet

Six-Mile Cypress Slough
Sunday & Monday
Revisited the I-75 rest-stop to see if the Black-Necked Stilts were stll there

After work on Sunday headed over to Six-Mile Cypress to look for any migrants.  But first checked out the rest stop on daniels road and I-75 for Black-Necked Stilts any other waders. Did find a few a few stilts presents but no ther waders were there this morning.
The parking lot at  Six-Mile was empty of people and birds.  As for the weather we were in-between morning rain showers. The boardwalk had lots of Northern Cardinals and Gray Catbirds. A couple of Carolina Wrens were very vocal as was a busy Pileated Woodpecker. As for migrants I was lucky to get excellent looks at a male Black-Throated Blue Warbler and a very brief look at a Chestnut-sided Warbler. I have not really heard of chestnut-sided warblers traveling through here before, but I am pretty confident that it an accurate siting.

Gray Squirrels are very abundent

Came back on Monday to try and relocate the black-throated blue warbler and chestnut-sided warbler. Spent a couple of hours on the boardwalk, but the only warbler seen today was a sole Black-and-White Warbler. Other observations included the resident Red-shouldered Hawks seem to be nesting, lots of Gray Catbirds are still present and a Barred Owl became very vocal.

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