Sunday, July 31, 2011

Swallow-tailed Kites - Hernando County

Thursday, July 29th

Black-necked Stilt at The Celery Fields
Had an open day to spend on some birding and was considering heading over to the Everglades agricultural area around Hendry and Palm Beach Counties for barn owls, swallows and early migrant shorebirds.  But instead my daughter Katie and I headed up toward Tampa to visit with my older daughter Melissa and her husband Robbie. There was still to be be some birding involved. 

We revisited a few of my spots from my June "Big Day". Namely The Celery Fields in Sarasota, the Power Line and Rock Lake Roads near Brooksville in Hernando County.

Began with a quick check of Domestic Street in south Lee County and started with a Red-tailed Hawk, Burrowing Owl and Chimney Swift. At The Celery Fields, the sandhill cranes had already dispersed, but was able to add the first Bald Eagle I have seen in over a month, several Osprey, a dozen Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, several Black-necked Stilts with chicks, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Egrets, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Mottled Ducks, Royal Tern, Laughing Gulls, Moorhens, American Coots, Limpkins, Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Anhingas, a Great Blue Heron and my FOS Least Sandpiper.  Missed were wood ducks, least bitterns and any swallows.
Observation deck being constructed at The Celery Fields.  Could use such a structure at Harns Marsh

Juvenile Black-necked Stilt at The Celery Fields.

My FOS Least Sandpiper at The Celery Fields

Next stop was Power Line Road on the border with Hernando and Pasco Counties.  It was here, a few weeks ago, that mississippi kites were being seen in a small concentration.  I did get one at that time, but did not expect anything today as they were probably already on the move to migrate south.  Did get five Southeastern American Kestrels and a trio of Swallow-tailed Kites, but no mississippi kites while we were there.  There was supposed to a burrowing owl colony located nearby, but again we missed on them.  Did get Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Wood Storks, Cattle Egrets, a calling Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Meadowlarks, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Loggerheaded Shrikes, Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves and Rock Pigeons.
Swallow-tailed Kites

Ended the birding phase of our trip with a return to Rock Lake Road, which is located where the Withlacoochee State Trail crosses Croom Rital Road.  The Trail seems to be very popular with bikers. Here I found a nesting tree for a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers, plus an other pair of young Red-bellied Woodpeckers and a noisy Pileated Woodpecker. Also added several Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a calling Blue Jay, American Crow, a Male Summer Tanager, Northern Cardinals and a LIFER  - ACADIAN FLYCATCHER.  A rough count for the day was around fifty birds.

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