Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cinnamon Teal at the Celery Fields

Wednesday January 18th

Today was a hunt for a lifer. The elusive cinnamon teal at The Celery Fields in Sarasota had been seen several times.  I had visited a week or so ago and missed on it, but I heard were several folks including Stan Damen and Vince McGrath had recently seen it. Had to try again.

First stopped at Akerman's Park, hoping for some ruddy ducks.  Just lots of Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler and Lesser Scaup. Plus Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, Double-crested Cormorants, Common Gallinules, Ring-billed Gulls, Cattle Egrets and White Ibis.  Had flock of about twelve Monk Parakeets fly in.
Monk Parakeets at Ackermans Park

At The Celery Fields the Cinnamon Teal was very easy to find because a dozen birders were already on it. Met John Whitehead and his neighbor Bill along with a group lead by a very knowledgeable leader named Owen.  Sure enough we had great views of the teal.  A Lifer!!!  Other birds here included Hooded Mergansers, Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebes, a Wilson's Snipe, lots of cormorants and Anhings.  Had a chance to watch a young Bald Eagle harass an Osprey for its freshly caught fish. Can add a Belted Kingfisher, Red-winged Blackbirds, Wood Storks, Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, a Northern Harrier, Cattle Egrets, Boat-tailed Grackles and Tree Swallows. Spent some time looked for a reported purple gallinule, but missed on it.

Great Egret at Ft DeSoto
Next checked out a pond, I heard about, at a nursery at Fruitville and Tatum Roads were several Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were found.  Then onto the ponds at The Founders Club were I was joined By John and Bill.  Here we successfully located the Common Goldeneye wintering here, but did not see its bufflehead partner.  Other birds here included Hooded Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Ring-billed Ducks, Grebes, Mottled Ducks and Blue-winged Teal.

Redheads and Lesser Scaups at Tierra Verde ponds
Moved onto Ft DeSoto in Tampa Bay to look for a lark sparrow. But first stopped at the ponds at Tierra Verde were a greater scaup had been reported. There were thousands of birds, mostly Redheads. Picked out Lesser Scaups, Northern Shoveler and floating gulls including a first year Herring Gull.
Spent some time at the fishing pier at Ft DeSoto, were several seabirds including a pair of Forster's Terns, Herring Gulls, Laughing Gulls, Cormorants, Ring-billed Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Red-breasted Mergansers and a Common Loon. Also had a small flock of Nanday Parakeets, large flocks of Brown-headed Cowbirds and European Starlings and a half dozen House Sparrows. Then moved onto the Gulf Pier to look for the lark sparrow, but lightening changed these plans.  So headed for home.
Herring Gull

Brown Pelican

Forster's Tern

Laughing Gull

Nanday Parakeets

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