Mondays are usually my only full-day off of work and I often will schedule some kind of birding trip for the day. Currently there are a lot of opportunities for travel to locate the hard to find birds in my neighborhood. There is a reported lark sparrow up in St Petersburg, a potential lifer, and the says phoebe is reported to have returned to the fence were it had wintered the past two years up in Lake County on Ranch Road in Astatula. There was also a Great Cormorant at Viera Wetlands near Melbourne and Swainson's Hawks at Lucky Hammock. There was also the Green-tailed Towhee at Ft Pickens, near Pensacola, but I just read a report that it may have fallen prey to a coopers hawk or some other predator. A shame.
But I have elected to stay close to home today. To run a blitz on my Lee County hot spots - Bunche Beach, Six-Mile Cypress Slough and Harns Marsh. So between 8:30 am and 1:30 pm I was able track eighty species for the day.
|Savannah Sparrows - they have returned and were found on Domestic Street and Harns Marsh|
Headed to Domestic Street in south Lee County. This had been a dependable site for burrowing owls until the babies fledged. Since then, seems they have moved on. But I was able to to locate a Red-tailed Hawk, several American Kestrals and about a hundred American Coots and one Pied-billed Grebe. Hoped to relocate lesser scaups and ring-necked ducks on the ponds, but none found here today.. But several Savannah Sparrows have shown up and hopefully grasshopper sparrows we be along soon. Lots of Palm Warblers and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker too.
|Dunlin at Bunche Beach|
|Dunlin at Bunche Beach|
On to Harn's Marsh. A walker I met here commented on a pair of river otters, but I missed them. Was rewarded with a calling FOS Sora though. Did not see the sora, but you can not mistake its call. Found more savannah sparrows and all the usual waders - Glossy and White Ibis, Great Egret, Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Heron, a Wood Stork etc. Several Tree Swallows were active as well as a lone Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Several Limpkins and Snail Kites were easily found. A couple of Northern Harriers were working the marsh too. There are always a lot of Black and Turkey Vultures here and hundreds of American Coots. The Lesser Scaups and Ring-necked Ducks missed on the ponds at Domestic Street were located here, plus several Mottled Ducks and pied-billed grebes. Other interesting birds seen here a Pileated Woodpecker, Palm Warblers and a noisy House Wren. Could not find any blue-winged teal though. So I drove over to the other entrance located next to Harn's marsh Elementry School. Here I was able to add the Blue-winged Teals and a Greater Yellowlegs. Missed on the sandhill cranes usually found here. After leaving, spotted a Bald Eagle flying overhead.
Arrived at Bunche Beach at about noon. Lots of people on the beach. Season has started. But found a lot of birds here too. Including my FOS Ring-billed Gulls. Had hope for white pelicans, but only saw Brown Pelicans way out, diving for there lunch. Hundreds of Black Skimmers resting on the beach with Royal, Sandwich and Forster's Terns mixed in. There were no waders present, but had all the expected shore birds - Willets, Short-billed Dowitchers, Marbled Godwits, Red Knots, Dunlins, Sanderlings, a lone Piping Plover, Black-bellied Plovers, a couple of Wilson's Plover and only saw one Semipalmated Plover. Saw a couple of Ruddy Turnstones and several Western and Least Sandpipers.
Finished up after the visit to the beach. I was ready to wrap it up and head home. Lots of projects waiting for me there as well.
Muscovy Duck, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Pied-billed Grebe, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Wood Stork, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Snail Kite, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Sora, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Limpkin, Black-bellied Plover, Wilson's Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Forster's Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Sparrow