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Caloosa Bird Club Fieldtrip Results 2/24/03

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  • Vincent Lucas
    All: Today s Caloosa Bird Club fieldtrip centered on Sarasota County where we visited the Venice Rookery, Sarasota County Solid Waste Facility and Oscar
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 24, 2003
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      Today's Caloosa Bird Club fieldtrip centered on Sarasota County where we
      visited the Venice Rookery, Sarasota County Solid Waste Facility and
      Oscar Scherer S.P. We saw a total of 75 species as a group on our outing.
      Some of our "best birds" were a pair of House Finches gathering nesting
      material (Spanish moss) from the slash pines in between the parking area
      and the rookery proper. I've sent a separate post regarding this
      sighting. Of course the many nesting high-breeding plumaged Great Blue
      Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Anhingas etc. were wonderful to watch
      as the parental birds fed young, turned their eggs, fought (one Great
      Egret was allegedly attacked and killed by a rival), and "primped" for
      the oogling queues of photographers and photographer-wanabes with their
      600mm "big gun" lenses. Who said spring isn't here?

      Other birds seen at the Venice Rookery were a pair of Pileated
      Woodpeckers who put on a marvelous show in a dead tree next to the
      rookery for the photographers. Three fly-over Monk Parakeets were another
      good sighting here as were the 4-5 Black-crowned Night-Herons at the
      rookery and the Purple Martins flying overhead. A Blue-headed Vireo was

      From the Venice Rookery, we ventured over to Sarasota County Solid Waste
      Facility where a quick tour of the perimeter of the landfill yielded at
      least four Bald Eagles, Northern Harrier, Sandhill Crane, Wilson's Snipe,
      Eastern Bluebird, singing Pine Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Eastern
      Meadowlark and thousands of mostly Ring-billed & Laughing Gulls flying
      over the landfill. Myriad Black and Turkey Vultures were also present as
      would be expected.

      Our last "official" stop was nearby Oscar Scherer State Park where the
      banded Florida Scrub-Jays easily found us! An overwintering flock of
      Chipping Sparrows was easily observed as well. However, the best birds
      seen here were a Yellow-throated Vireo and a Hairy Woodpecker -- seen by
      a few Caloosans, unfortunately, I wasn't among them. Northern Parula,
      Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-headed
      Vireo, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Phoebe and American Robin were some of our
      other sightings at Oscar Scherer.

      In the morning, on our way to the Venice Rookery, I saw a Wild Turkey
      from I-75 in a clearing at MM133.5

      After the fieldtrip was over, Arthur & Anne Wilson, John Will and I did a
      quick pass through Babcock-Webb WMA. We didn't find any RCWs at home but
      we did see a half-dozen cavity trees -- most with "artificial" nest
      holes. The good news here is that Oil Well Grade is once again open so
      that one can now make the continuous "loop" from Tucker's Grade to Oil
      Well Grade to Tram Grade to Seaboard Grade and back to Tucker's Grade.
      The shooting range has been expanded a great deal and it is louder than
      ever with gun/rifle noise. Also, a recent prescribed(?) burn has scared
      much of the area but it should come back nicely.

      We didn't have any rarities at Babcok-Webb WMA but the usual Pine
      Warblers, Eastern Blubirds and myriad(!) feeding Palm Warblers were
      evident. We saw several non-vocal Bachman's Sparrows doing their
      "flush-from-saw palmetto-and-fly-to-ground-and-run-routine" on several
      occasions. I did see one lone Brown-headed Nuthatch as well plus the
      usual waders, blackbirds, Red-tailed Hawk etc. My first Palamedes
      Swallowtail of the season was a welcome sighting as well.

      Good birding!

      Vincent Lucas
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