Monday, October 31, 2011

Purple Gallinule - The Celery Fields

Thursday, October 27th

Arrived at The Celery Fields in Sarasota about 10 o'clock where I met John Whitehead.  John put me onto several birds including a juvenile Purple Gallinule. Arrived too late for the sandhill cranes and the other waders weren't too numerous. We did have at least eight Limpkins, a Great Blue Heron, a couple each of Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons and Tricolored Herons. Did not have any white ibis at the time, but there were six Glossy Ibis and six more Cattle Egrets on the grassy berm with Common and Boat-tailed Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Palm Warblers a small flock of newly arriving Savannah Sparrows.
I was interested in shore birds and had a pair of Lesser Yellowlegs fly in as did a flock of a dozen or so Dowitchers.  We also had Western and Least Sandpipers plus a trio of Killdeer and a Wilson's Snipe. Noted a Mallard x Mottled Duck hybrid fly in plus a few Blue-winged Teal and Mottled Ducks were present. John had seen a couple of black-bellied whistling ducks, but I dipped on them. Other birds seen included Wood Stork, Common Coot, Common Gallinule, a Caspian Tern, a Kestrel, a pair of Osprey, a Bald Eagle and eight Anhingas.

Next stopped at Cockroach Bay Road near Ruskin.  A Northern Harrier was patrolling the waste water mitigation ponds.  Had all the same waders as at The Celery Fields, but I could add a single Roseate Spoonbill. The shore birds were limited to a Greater Yellowlegs, two Lesser Yellowlegs and a Killdeer. Osprey are very common here and I counted six American Kestrels on the wires. The rafts of American Coots are back and had a count of over a hundred birds.  Had a dozen Blue-winged Teal which were keeping the company of a lone female Redhead. Other sightings include Common Gallinule, Tree Swallows, a Loggerhead Shrike, a House Wren and Pied-billed Grebes.
Ft DeSoto Park

Red Knots

Lastly stopped at Ft Desoto Park in Tampa Bay.  Had a few Redheads at the Terra Verde ponds along with a huge number of Double-crested Cormorants. A check for any migrants lingering in the park produced very little.  I was interested in finding the reported ash-throated flycatcher and any snow plovers.  dipped on both. Did find a couple of Red Knots and ten American Oystercatchers.  Other shorebirds included Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, a Dunlin, a Piping Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover and Least Sandpipers. Other birds of the shore included Laughing Gulls, Royal Terns, Forster's Terns, Sandwich Terns, Ospreys, Magnificent Frigatebirds and Black Skimmers.  Birds of the woods included a couple of American Redstarts, a dozen Palm Warblers, a lone Pine Warbler, a pair of Eastern Phoebe, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Mockingbirds, Catbirds and Starlings. My purpose for this day's trip was to try to reach a goal of 160 birds for the month which I did accomplish.

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