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8889St Marks NWR- Sunday morning

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  • Don Morrow
    Jul 6, 2014
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      A beautiful mid-summer morning. It didn't even get hot until 8:30 am. Except for the managed ponds, water levels are low. The area around the Double bridges has water in the two creeks and scattered puddles, but also still has Prothonotary Warblers and Red-eyed Vireo. I was still able to find Acadian Flycatcher there two weeks ago, but did not see one this morning.

      Based on the Duncan's report from Pensacola, I looked for Yellow Warbler, usually the earliest migrant songbird. I did not find any, but they should be watched for along the edges of the entrance road.

      The best birding was in Tower Pond, which is being managed for migrant shorebirds. The Dowitchers and Western Sandpipers are likely returning migrants. It's already getting cold up North with lows in the mid-thirties on their breeding grounds.

      Great Blue Heron
      Great Egret
      Snowy Egret
      Tricolored Heron
      Reddish Egret
      Black-bellied Plover (two were in transitional plumage)
      Greater Yellowlegs
      Willet
      Western Sandpiper (most were in breeding plumage)
      Short-billed Dowitcher (most were in breeding plumage)
      Laughing Gull
      Caspian Tern
      Sandwich Tern
      Forster's Tern
      Least Tern
      Black Skimmer.

      In early July you have to watch closely for signs of migration. Soon though, Yellow Warblers will be easy to find along the entrance road and Black Terns will show up. Birding at the refuge is still pleasant (and not life threatening) in the morning. Get up early and go birding.


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