Sunday, March 4, 2012

Yellow-headed Blackbird - Long-tailed Duck - Lincoln's Sparrow - Purple Sandpiper

Wednesday, February 29th

A poor photo of the Yellow-headed Blackbird

Leap Day was spent on a very good birding day trip.  Joined up with Master Birder, Vince McGrath and headed up to Myaka River State park south of Sarasota. Started with a Peregrine Falcon along the highway close to the park.  Within Myaka River State Park we quickly had Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, Tufted Titmice, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Northern Parulas. At the boardwalk we ran into John Whitehead and several other birders who already had our target bird in thier scopes. It was a female Yellow-headed Blackbird in the company of a large flock of female Red-winged Blackbirds.
Other species found at the boardwalk included  a very 'classic' Mallard, a Redhead, Lesser Scaups, Blue-winged Teals, Long-billed Dowitchers, Least Sandpipers, Caspian Terns, Forster's Terns, Black-necked Stilts, Roseate Spoonbills, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Sandhill Cranes, Wild Turkeys, American Pipits, American Coots and Common Gallinules.
Horned Grebe in Tampa Bay

From here Vince and I heded toward Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa Bay, but first we checked out the Founders Club ponds on Fruitville Road. Dipped on the common goldeneye, but did get Ring-necked duck, Lesser Scaup and Hooded Merganser.  At Courtney Campbell Causeway we easily found the the reported female Long-tailed Duck, because of the directions found on Birdbrains.  we also added Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls,Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Brown Pelican, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher and Willet.

Ruddy Turnstone
From here went added a stop at the closeby Possum Branch Preserve. We did not see the green-tailed Towhee but did get one each of the Lincoln, Song, Savannah and Swamp Sparrows.  Heading back to Ft Myers Vince directed us toward Venice Inlet to look for a Purple Sandpiper. The place was very crowded and we did not expect to locate the bird, but Vince managed to locate it sleeping on the rocks on the north jetty.  Got to say that Vince McGrath is an exceptional birder and is now available as a professional Birding Guide in SW Florida.

We did see a bit over one hundred species including Bald Eagles, American Kestrels, Rock Pigeons, Eurasian Collared-Doves, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Greater Black-backed Gulls, Spotted Sandpiper, Muscovy Duck, Yellow-Crowned Night-heron, American White Pelicans, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Sandwich Terns, Northern Flicker, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Herring Gulls ....

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