Friday, February 10, 2012

Oak Toad at Babcock-Webb

Wednesday, February 8th

Can you see the tiny Oak Toad ?
I had planned on twitching after the neotropic cormorant at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Palm Beach County, but logistics kept me closer to home.  Maybe there will be an opportunity to see the bird later.

So, instead I spent seven hours birding Babcock-Webb WMA in Charlotte County.  I managed to find all three of the prized species here - Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch and a Bachman's Sparrow. The bachman's sparrow is difficult to locate, except when the males begin singing in March. Today I had an individual pop-up in front of me as I was walking through some open pineland chasing after a mixed flock of warblers.  The sparrow quickly rose and dove under a mass of palmetto. Typical bachman's behavior.
American Robin

Three species I was interested in finding today - bobwhite, marsh wren and brown thrasher - I dipped on, but got plenty of other good birds.  I refound an American Bittern in the same location I spotted one last month. Found a lot of Gray Catbirds, House Wrens, Pied-billed Grebes, Pine Warblers, Eastern Towhees, Anhingas, American Robins, White Ibis, Belted Kingfishers and Eastern Meadowlarks.  Other sightings included a juvenile Black-crowned Night-heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Eastern Bluebirds , an immature Bald Eagle, Palm Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Eastern Phoebe, Northern Harrier, Tree Swallows, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Mockingbirds, Blue Jays and Sandhill Cranes.

An interesting find was a tiny oak toad. This is our smallest toad species and likes sandy pine forests in the U.S. Southeast.

On the way home I swung there Cape Coral and successfully found the family of Florida Scrub-jays and Great Horned Owl near the new water treatment plant on Kismet. Also added a Burrowing Owl and a Monk Parakeet at the Pelican Boulevard ballfields.

I might add that this morning, February 10th, had a pair of female Painted Buntings visit my feeder.  Haven't seen buntings at my feeders for several years. You just never know what you'll find.

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