Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Pine Siskin in Immokalee

Tuesday, April 12th

Today I had originally planned to return to Ft DeSoto with the hopes that spring migration has begun.  However reports were not good.  No birds and a lot of mosquitoes. So I'll skip it today.  Hopefully next week will be an improvement and I already plan on joining Bob Pelkey at that time.

Instead I headed to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Immakolee in Collier County. Arriving about 9 am and I already had roadside hits on a Broad-winged Hawk and a Hairy Woodpecker. Only was 

Gray Catbird

able to add a couple of warblers, Northern Parula and Black-and White. Not much here as far as spring migration is concerned. Still lots of Gray Catbids around and were the most common species of the day. Red-shouldered Hawks were also very active including one that another boardwalk visitor told me had captured a snake.  Went over to check it out and found the hawk without the snake but with wings spread out to dry them. Had to have gotten wet with hunting water snakes.

Red-shouldered Hawk
One sad but 'circle-of-life' event that was related by one of the volunteers to some of the visitors happened the other day when a mother wood duck enter the pond we were standing by with five ducklings in tow. This is when a black-crowned night-heron attached and grabbed a baby duck for a meal. This reminds me of observing yellow-crowned night-herons patrolling the least tern nesting area on Ft Myers Beach in search of a carelessly guarded tern chick.
Other species encountered at Corkscrew Swamp included Tufted Titmouse, Great Crested Flycatcher, Carolina Wren, a Swallow-tailed Kite, Downy Woodpecker, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Swamp Sparrow and White-eyed Vireos.
Another visitor I ran into was Vince Lucas, a very active birder, e-bird coordinator for Collier County and on a Big Year for Collier County. He gave directions to a residence in Immokalee were bird feeders are very active with buntings, white-winged doves and a pair of Pine Siskins.  Yesturday he was alerted to a flock of cedar waxwings but missed them by minutes.  Cedar Waxwings have not been very numerous this winter season in south Florida. 

Following Corkscrew Swamp I did head over to Immoklee for the siskins.  Along the way I found a flock of Black-belled Whistling Ducks. Did manage to locate the residence and yes, had  a Pine Siskin on the feeder.  LIFER!!  Also had a large number of Indigo Buntings, a female Painted Buntings and Red-belled Woodpecker, and several White-winged Doves, but no waxwings. After leaving Immokalee came across a road kill location with several Black Vultures and a Crested Caracara. As for the vultures, one or more could be destined to colliade with traffic as they keep flying in low through the fast moving vehicules.  I almost had one crash into my windshield.  A close call.
The Red-shouldered Hawk nest

On the way home stopped at CREW Marsh Trail on Corkscrew Road for lunch and spent about an hour hiking trails. Again not  very birdy.  Did encounter an active Red-shouldered hawk nest. Watched as one parent brought something to the nest for the single white, downy offspring observed.  Then the other parent arrived with a three foot black racer.  The adult could be seen working on this snake and was most likely feeding the baby.

Found this signage at the trailhead advising on what to do if a hiker encounters a Florida Panther

Ground Skink - observed this small lizard on the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp.

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