Monday, January 5, 2015

Estero Bay Preserve State Park - Winkler Road

Monday, January 5th.

Estero Bay Preserve State Park is a sight designed to help improve and preserve the integrity of the Estero Bay estuary. I have walked the pine wood trails leading from the preserves Estero access point.  This location has been a mitigation area for displaced gopher tortoises and is were I had my lifer sighting of Florida Scrub Jays.  Saw two on my first visit February 14, 2008, but have never seen any there since.  Other species found here include Eastern Towhee, Eastern Bluebird, Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker, Swallow-tailed Kite, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Bobwhites

The Winkler Road access is different as it is primarily mangrove and salt flats.  But there are a couple of ponds on this section of the preserve that recently has drawn some attention due to some of the water fowl being seen lately. Both ponds are accessed off the blue trail. And it should be noted here that these trails are often flooded and supplied with hordes of mosquitoes. So basically access is a winter time event and there can still be mosquitoes, mud and standing water ( source for the mosquitoes), as was my experience today. The park does have a participation requirement for use of the facilities.
Least Sandpiper seen in December

Today was a return visit to capture fresh sightings of the ducks for the new year.  Last month I trudged through deeper water, but the mosquitoes were as bad as today. Today the American Wigeons that have been often seen on the smaller pond were not present, but the larger pond held hundreds of ducks. The vast majority are Lesser Scaups, a small sampling of Red-breasted Mergansers, Ruddy Duck and a Bufflehead could be seen. Much of view from the observation platform was obscured by the growth of mangroves, which means the managers of the state park should look to improve these facilities.

This little guy was seen along a very wet blue trail in December

Other sightings today included American White Pelican, Wood Stork, American Avocets, Willets, Killdeer, Red-shouldered Hawks, Palm Warblers and Pileated Woodpecker. Other species recently seen by myself and other birders include Whimbrel, Dunlin, Least Sandpipers, Redhead, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Merlin and Flickers.

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