Babcock-Webb WMA - Charlotte County
I try to get to Babcock-Webb about every month and today seemed to be a good day for a visit. To increase the likelihood of locating a Red-Cockaded woodpecker, I try to be on site at the colony on Oilwell Road as they exit their nest holes at dawn. But today I found that I was a bit late, arriving at 6:35am, as I came across a single Red-Cockaded Woodpecker actively feeding along the roadside before arriving at the colony site. So my timing was a bit late but it all worked out as I had the subject bird within five minutes upon arrival, but I also had Common Nighthawks, Northern Bobwhites, Wood Storks, Great Egrets, Eastern Meadowlarks, Brown Thrashers, Eastern Towhee, Doves and Mockingbirds before even finding the woodpecker. A pretty good start.
The next three hours I spent looking for bachman's sparrow, which I failed to locate today, but I did locate several Brown-Headed Nuthatches, including a noisy juvenile, a roosting Great Horned Owl being harassed by a Northern Mockingbird, twice came across Yellow-Shafted Northern Flickers and a trio of Least Terns that were flitting about the boat ramp at Webb Lake.
The best sighting was my third ever look at a Least Bittern. As I was stopped on a section of road I had not traveled before, the least bittern fly right in front of me. Cool! The most unusual sighting occurred as I was trying to photograph the least terns at the boat ramp. I heard a commotion at the open passenger-side window were a pair of cardinals had landed. They seemed agitated and were easily encouraged to move along. Very strange.
Also encounterd a lone deer, three rabbits, plus a Florida Garter Snake and a Black Racer.
My List (36) - Northern Bobwhite, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Turkey Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Killdeer, Least Tern, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Great Horned Owl, Common Nighthawk, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Pine Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle