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Collier County Birding 11/29/03

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  • vlucas
    All: Yesterday, I had the pleasure of showing some of our local birds to Dick and Catherine Harris of Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, probably due to near
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2003

      Yesterday, I had the pleasure of showing some of our local birds to Dick
      and Catherine Harris of Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, probably due to
      near gale-force winds, the birds were uncooperative. We started out at
      the Big Cypress Bend Boardward off of the Tamiami Trail near Carnestown.
      Highlights here were a FOTS American Robin; adult Bald Eagle being
      harassed by American Crows; male Northern Parula; Blue-headed Vireo;
      numerous Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Palm Warblers and Tufted Titmouse. Also
      seen were at least three Pileated Woodpeckers and four Great Crested

      We then proceeded to head east towards Everglades City along the Tamiami
      Trail where there were a few flocks of up to 75 Blue-winged Teal in the
      small freshwater "ponds" along the highway. Also present were several
      Wood Storks and most of the waders (no shorebirds). The hoped-for Roseate
      Spoonbills never materialized. Small flocks of Tree Swallows were
      ever-present over the sawgrass marshes.

      Our next stop was the Fritchey Road Wetlands. Here we struck-out on Snail
      Kite and Limpkin (as well as Scissor-tailed Flycatcher) which have been
      fairly 'regular' as of late. There were still considerable amounts of
      water in the flooded fields but where these birds were yesterday is
      anyone's guess. We did have a nice male Northern Harrier fly over the
      wetlands. No Eastern Bluebirds, Chipping Sparrows or Pine Warblers were
      seen in the residential areas along Greenway Rd. I was dismayed to see
      that the entire vegetation at the corner of Greenway & Fritchey Rds. was
      obliterated in preparation for yet another installment of someone's
      "American Dream". Finally, at the corner of Tamiami Trail and Greenway
      Rds., I did see a lone Eastern Bluebird in a Slash Pine.

      Our next stop was Shell Island Road and Briggs Nature Center on the way
      to Marco Island. If you're thinking of stopping at this location any time
      soon, don't bother. Briggs has been closed for over six months since they
      ran out of potable water and it doesn't look like it will be opened any
      time soon despite the sign out on Collier Blvd. that reads "Closed For
      Summer." We couldn't even coax a Florida-Scrub Jay from out of the brush,
      even having peanuts in our hand -- a surefire winner in the past. We
      didn't see a single bird anywhere along Shell Island Road: no Eastern
      Towhees -- not even a Northern Mockingbird!

      Our next stop of the day was the ever-amazing Tigertail Beach on Marco
      island. There were thousands of shorebirds present that afforded very
      close looks. All of the plovers were present, including good numbers of
      Wilson's, Piping and Snowy Plovers as well as all of the 'usual'
      suspects. I managed to see one Piping Plover with shiny metal bands on
      both legs as well as a banded Snowy Plover having a green band on the
      right leg and red-over-blue bands on the left leg. I will report these
      banded birds to the proper agency and report my findings here at some
      later date as to where these birds were banded initially. Noticeably
      absent were Red Knots, which I would have expected to see at this time of
      the year.

      Despite whitecaps on the Gulf, no hoped-for jaegers or Northern Gannets
      were seen. We did have a Common Loon plying the surf. Terns and gulls
      were not common and we only managed Royal, Sandwich and a lone Forster's
      Tern for our efforts.

      Checking all of the 'usual' locations for Burrowing Owls on Marco island,
      we only managed to find one pair that was 'out' -- probably due to the
      cold temps and high winds. More alarming were the number of sites still
      available for these birds. Many of the locations that once housed BUOW
      sites were now replaced with huge ranch style houses with sprawling
      yards. Fewer and fewer Burrowing Owl sites are seen every time I go to
      check on them. It won't be long before these lovely little owls will be
      extirpated from Marco island I'm sad to say.

      All in all, it wasn't the best birding day I've had in Collier County of
      late, but showing 'new' birds to out-of-town birders is a pleasure in and
      of itself as I'm sure most of you would agree.

      Good birding!

      Vincent Lucas
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