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Western Grebe

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  • trogonl@aol.com
    Hi, Birdfolk. The north section of Estero Aquatic Preserve was very productive this evening. I paddled my inflatable kayak east from the osprey platform at the
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 13, 2003
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      Hi, Birdfolk. The north section of Estero Aquatic Preserve was very
      productive this evening. I paddled my inflatable kayak east from the osprey platform at
      the north end of Lover's Key to look for the avocets and to investigate a
      small island roost I'd seen earlier. I was amazed to find not waders, but about
      200 shorebirds around the roost. Whimbrels, red knots and turnstones were
      roosting on the top of two to three-foot- high mangroves, and nearby in shallow
      water (it was high tide) were willets, dunlin, s-b dowitchers and at least seven
      marbled godwits sleeping and undisturbed as I drifted to within fifty feet of
      them. This was about three quarters of a mile (? 25minute paddle) out in the
      bay in a very low boat traffic area. I also passed a flock of 110 red-breasted
      mergansers on the way out to the roost.

      The best and most amazing obsevation came as I paddled back just before
      sunset. I had been watching seven birds in the water and finally got close enough
      to drift toward them and use my 12 power binocs. I didn't believe it until I
      was within 150 feet. They were all western grebes. I tried to tell myself that
      they were the Ft. Myers Beach scoters stretching out their necks, but there was
      no doubt -- beautiful, graceful, long-necked western grebes (remote
      possibility for Clark's). They moved rather quickly northeast and out of view thus
      ending any hope of getting someone to witness this sighting. I'm going to have
      another look in the morning -- and take my digital camera.

      This certainly makes up for all the birdless hours I've spent paddling Estero
      Bay.

      Bill Jones
      Bonita Beach

      PS Vince Lucas tells me that Vince McGrath has seen these shorebird night
      roosts in the past.


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