Elected to make a quick stop at nearby Harns Marsh to collect a count for the Lee County Bird Patrol. With the weather improving with the arrival of cooler air, this a more enjoyable stroll around the edge of the southeastern corner of the Marsh.
Arrived at 8:30 am and immediately spotted a trio of Wild Turkeys working the tree-line across the lake from the parking area and a calling Yellow-throated Warbler could be heard as well. The always present vultures were occupying any spot were they they could warm up, with wings spread out to catch the sun. Water levels remain high with few waders present, but a couple flocks of White Ibis did fly by looking for a good spot for dining. Waterfowl were limited to a couple of dozen Mottled Ducks and about ten newly arrived American Coots. It won't be long and hundreds will be on hand. Soon blue-winged teal will be plentiful too.
Only sighted a couple of Limpkins and spotted the first Snail Kite I have seen here in some time. A team of biologist were also here looking for kites and agreed that just the one was seen.
American Kestrels and Belted Kingfishers were seen and several families of Pied-billed Grebes were also seen including one family with very small chicks. As I passed a pair of feeding Sandhill Cranes they were began doing this little hopping dance. Probably not sure if they should flew or ignore me.
Also ran into a mixed flock of small birds consisting of Palm and Pine Warblers, Gray Catbirds, Northern Cardinals, a White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Great Crested Flycatcher and a FOS House Wren.
Best bird was a surprise in an American Bittern, which noisily leaped from concealment just as I was passing by. Doubt that I would have spotted it if it had stayed put. Soon the water levels will fall and we'll see more waders, spoonbills, ducks, harriers, kites, pelicans and shorebirds.