Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Black Terns - Cockroach Bay Road

Black Terns - Cockroach Bay Road
August 9th

Only had a small window of opportunity today to do some birding outside my neighborhood. Elected to make a return, 120 mile, trip to Cockroach Bay Road, which is nearby to Ruskin, Florida. Last month I had good sitings of Gull-billed Terns, Black-bellied Ducks, Black-necked Stilts and such. Besides the ponds the area also has a couple of sod farms, so hopefully migrating shore birds could be present.

Started the day with siting a Cooper's Hawk flying across Us 41 near home as I was heading to a nine o'clock appointment.

Arrived at Cockroach Bay Road just before noon and noticed that I had left my camera at home, but what I really noticed were the dozens of Black Terns working the retention ponds. Most were still in their alternative, black, plumage. This was a pleasant surprise. Watched them feed for about twenty minutes until the flock flew off. I was also able to observe four Gull-billed Terns. Two in alternate plumage. Only found a couple of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks this time.  Had four Black-necked Stilts, several Snowy and Great Egrets.  Several Moorhens, a couple of Osprey, a lone Great Blue Heron.

Moved down the road to check out the sod farms, which only held large numbers of Laughing Gulls, White and Glossy Ibises. Didn't find any shore birds. Checked the numerous doves on the wires for any white-winged doves, but all were Mourning or Ground Doves. Did find a pair of Gray Kingbirds though.
Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls were numerous at the boat ramp at the end of road. Turned around and headed backed home, rechecking all the spots for anything missed. At the ponds, found that the black terns had returned or were being replaced by another flock.

On the way home I elected to make a short diversion over to Siesta Key, off of I-75 and was rewarded with locating a lone Nanday Parakeet or Black-hooded Parakeet sitting on the wire down by the beach.  Aways enjoy finding any parrots when birding.

Made another brief stop at Domestic Street in the south Ft Myers area near my home, to see if any burrowing owls or swallows were present, No owls were seen, but a beautiful Red-tail Hawk was seen as were a rapidly moving flock of swallows.  The only swallow I was able to ID before they disappeared was a Bank Swallow, but barn swallows were probably among them as well.

My List for the day - Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Common Moorhen, Sandhill Crane, Black-necked Stilt, Laughing Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Black Tern, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Rock Pigeon, Gray Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Nanday Parakeet, Red-tailed Hawk and Bank Swallow.

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