- Hi all
Julie, Mary, Susan and I headed to said lake to look for the Red-necked Grebe. It didn't oblige us again. I'd be very disappointed if I hadn't seen many before. No Golden Eagle either, just the usual regular Lake Seminole birds; Canvasbacks, Common Loons, Buffleheads, Am. Wigeon, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, zillions of Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots and Double-crested Cormorants. Bald Eagles, Northern Harrier, Spotted Sandpiper and several Red-breasted Mergansers as well.
We also checked the lake from Sneads Park and Three Rivers SP. Non lake highlights included 2 Winter Wrens in TRSP, YB Sapsuckers, OC Warblers, BH Vireos, many GCKinglets, WT Sparrows, EPhoebes etc. For more species and pics see my blog, my fingers are tired.
Oh by the way Im leading a WBU walk on Saturday 6th starting at 8am. We will be visiting Leon Sinks and Lake Munson Preserve. Visit the store to sign up if interested, not many places left. I'll be leading another walk on Saturday 20th to areas around Lake Jackson (Sunset Landing, Faulk Drive, Crowder Rd, Indian Mounds etc)
all the best for 2007
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- Evening nflbirders,
Yesterday (Sunday) 3 paddlers and myself met at the Three Rivers State Park boat landing on the southwest shore of Lake Seminole to enjoy quiet (not quite !) paddling and a little birding along the west shore of this beautiful lake. Upon arriving at the landing, we were somewhat amazed at the immense flotillas of American Coots as far as the eye could see. I would conservatively say 4,000, maybe 5,000, black dots and patches of these gallinaceous waterfowl. Upon setting our boats in the water (around 0945) we slowly paddled westward toward the campground before turning north along the west shore. Several great egrets and great blue herons took to the air from the south shore as we intruded into their safety zones. Hundreds of coots were amongst the large floating mats of water hyacinth and as we slowly approached, all took to the air or tried as their tiny webbed feet spun so rapidly that they were a blur, leaving long segmented rooster tails in
their wakes. When flotillas of hundreds of these birds started their runs for safer digs, we felt as if we were listening to a heavy rain beating on a roof as a result of their slapping the water's surface. Amongst the coots were 3 moorhens, one very well marked adult and two youngsters, all walking over the hyacinth on their own.
Unfortunately, we found that the water hyacinth, an invasive exotic plant to be quite extensive along the lake's shoreline, not a good sign. Additionally, mats of hydrilla were just below the surface, somewhat dormant due to the cool weather or maybe due to chemical treatment by the Corps.
And as I mentioned in the beginning, at least for the morning hours, quiet was not to be had. Multiple blasts from Howitzers, or at least sounding like Howitzers reverberated across the lake as the duck hunters would let loose on small flocks of unidentified flying ducks . Except for the few flyovers that we did see, not one duck, with the exception of decoys was to be found drifting quietly amongst the coots.
Anhingas, both male and female would pass overhead every so often with their conspicuous flap and glide routine. Several were perched on snags showing off their beautiful white keyboards. Cormorants were few, only three were seen as they flew steady low over the lake.
The raptors though did put in an appearance. At least 3, maybe 4 immature bald eagles were observed over or adjacent to the lake, all except one appearing to be on a committed course to a distant place. But the one flew low out over the lake, just in front of our 4 boats and proceeded to flare upward to a near a dead stall before dropping down to near the lake's surface. This bird did not appear to be in a hunting mode, but instead seemed to be teasing the nearby coots, sending them into noisy moving black clouds low over the calm waters. A single adult eagle emerged from the shore's pines, again flying low out over the waters landing on a log, then after checking out the four of us and its immediate surrounding, proceeded to take multiple drinks of the lake's water. In addition to the eagles, a single osprey (thought we would see several), two red tails, 2 red-shoulders, all flybys and a potential Cooper's perched way far out on a snag, its back
to us, making its ID questionable at best.
The paddlers enjoyed the antics of a belted kingfisher, suicide diving into the calm waters and eventually capturing what appeared to be a 2 to 3 inch long bream, as large as this little dive bomber's head. We followed this kingfisher back to a shoreline oak and watched as the kingfisher repeatedly slapped the unfortunate bream against a branch, softening it up for the final gulp. Ten minutes later, the slapping was still taking place. Good looks at the size of this fish, the kingfisher's bill and head, I don't know if this little avian wonder would eventually be able to consume its prize.
As the day grew late, the muted pastoral sky reflecting on the surface of the calm waters, the rainbow halo encircling the sun and also reflecting on the lake's surface, we began our paddle back to the landing amongst an ethereal, an almost unworldly landscape with stumps, snags, dead trees emerging from the water's surface, the odd quietness engulfing us. One paddler commented that this landscape could be what the world would look like after a third world war, a war of the worlds landscape, very beautiful but moody, a strange ambiance. Then I thought about the history of this area, mentioning to my paddling partners that we were paddling over an area where Ivory-bills probably lived their lives, birds that flew through this large floodplain forest, raised their young amongst what were great hardwoods, now cut and removed, leaving just remnants of what could have been for our and future generations if left to itself.
On the water for over 6 hours, a little over 10 miles of casual paddling, enjoyable birding, needless to say, we were all pleased to make the landing, load our boats, wish each other well and head to our respective digs.
* Pied-billed Grebe; 3
* Double-crested Cormorant; 3
* Anhinga; 10 + (male and female)
* Great Blue Heron; 4
* Great Egret; 7
* Little Blue Heron: Immature (white plumage)
* Turkey Vulture; 1
* Osprey; 1
* Bald Eagle; 3 to 4 immatures, 1 adult
* Cooper's Hawk; 1 potential
* Red-shouldered Hawk; 2
* Red-tailed Hawk; 2
* Common Moorhen; 3 (1 adult, 2 immatures)
* American Coot; 6,000 plus
* Ring-billed Gull; 14
* Belted Kingfisher; 3
* Eastern Phoebe; 3
* American Crow: 20
* Red-winged Blackbird: over 100 males, no females observed
* Boat-tailed Grackle; 1 male
Good birding to all,
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