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8806St. Marks NWR -- Sunday Morning

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  • Don Morrow
    Apr 6, 2014
      An epic morning for Common Loon migration at the refuge. Paul Spitzer and I recorded 484 loons headed North. Weather radar showed a strong storm system just across the Georgia line that resulted in 209 returning birds. Loons were streaming in both directions.

      Otherwise, Spring migration is a desultory affair so far. Two Cattle Egrets were sitting on the old pilings at dawn. Least Bitterns are now easily found near the lighthouse, where I also recorded Caspian, Royal, Forster's and Common Tern. High-flying duck flocks numbering in the hundreds were moving along the coast. Over the course of the morning I probably saw 2,000 ducks that all seemed to be scaup, but could have included Redhead flying at about 500 feet. I observed some of them spiraling higher and disappearing to the North. Buffleheads seem to be thinning out, but Red-breasted Mergansers are still much in evidence. Blue-winged Teal are common on several of the refuge ponds.

      Heading back on the entrance road, Black-necked Stilts are more evident, I saw about twenty. Lesser Yellowlegs seem to outnumber Greaters. I did not see the flock of dark ibis that has included up to fifteen White-faced Ibis, recently. Nick Baldwin sent me some great photos of the White-faced Ibis taken last week.

      I had a single Eastern Kingbird along the road and had Black&White Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Parula and Northern Waterthrush at the Double Bridges.

      Good Birding

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