Babcock Webb WMA Saturday
- About a week late folks, my apologies for the lateness of the report. Last Saturday I was able to assist on the Peace River (Charlotte County) CBC after a long hiatus and birded the Babcock Webb WMA area. At first light I accompanied others on a shot out to the woodpecker roost along Oilwell Grade. We met at the gate near 6:30 and arrived at the cluster just under 3 miles away a bit before 7 AM. It was overcast so we didn't hear the Red-cockaded woodpeckers until about 7:15 AM. Before they left their roost I was able to find a single Bachman's Sparrow near as quiet and shy as ever about 20' off the road at the "RCW" sign buried in a small Palmetto clump. As is typical in winter it gave a few chip notes and I could hear palmetto fronds crunching but that's as close as I got to actually SEEING a Bachman's unfortunately. Eastern Bluebirds streamed overhead with handfuls of Pine Warblers, Yellow-rumpeds, and Palm Warblers in tow. Robins and Goldfinches flew
over on high, and two Brown Headed Nuthatches squeaked in the treetops hear before the Red-cockadeds finally made themselves known. After a brief period with the woodpecker pair hear I was REALLY amazed to hear a Screech Owl singing! It was now ~ 7:30 AM very light (by Screech-Owl standards) and I had NEVER seen or heard one in such wide open habitat as this before. Given the lack of suitable snags and wide open habitat it only took a few minutes to find one of the two birds counter-singing here.
Check the pics here:
or you can read my blog hosted on the Bird Watcher's Digest website here:
Good news bad news for those hoping to see a Screech-Owl this bird was still in the same hole two nights ago and as I said easily found if calling. Bad news - the hole is ~20 foot up so not good for standard photography this shot was taken through the spotting scope at real high magnification (equivalent to ~3500 mm lens!). Clearly in the range of a digiscoper but a bit distant for say your typical 400 mm lens! :(
After having the pinewoods grand slam with bonus birds to include the screech, Eastern Meadowlarks, Bluebirds, "Florida" Eastern Towhees (light-eyed race), etc. I made my way back out to my proper area where I was able to add Bobwhite, King Rail, Sora, Wilson's Snipe, Sedge Wren, and other goodies to the day list. In all my day list was at about 75 species including some birds seen in other areas that weren't counted and NOT including many waterbirds. I haven't heard what the overall count tally was for the entire count. I look forward to hearing. Any birders wanting specifics on any bird mentioned can feel free to contact me. And for those who can't get enough of my ramblings I'll have another blog post with images posted as well soon!
Good birding and happy holidays all!
Leica Sport Optics
Port Charlotte, FL
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]