A B Maclay Gardens SP - March Highlights
- After a long absence a wading bird rookery has been re-established at Gum Pond with nesting Great Egret, Great Blue Heron and Little Blue Heron. A pair of Tricolored Herons have also been observed but no sign of any nesting activity. At least 2 Great Blue Heron nests have been sighted alongside Lake Overstreet and the first Green Heron arrived mid-month. A couple of Wood Storks were seen flying over Lake Hall on 25th and during the severe thunderstorm on 28th a White Ibis flew over Lake Hall; both uncommon visitors to the park.
A male Belted Kingfisher set up residence at Wood Duck Slough and there are at least 3 pairs of Ospreys nesting, the males of which have been showing off their well honed fishing skills on Lake Overstreet and Lake Hall. Blue Gill, Golden Shiner and Crappie seem to make up their staple diet. The Bald Eagles have appreciated the Ospreys fishing skills and regular dogfights over the park lakes are common with most battles ending in the favor of the thieving eagles!
The first Purple Martins of the spring were sighted over Lake Hall on 7th.
On 2nd there was a large influx of Northern Parula throughout the park and it has since been difficult to walk far without hearing one singing. The first spring Red-eyed Vireo arrived a week later on 9th.
On 14th 4 Swallow-tailed Kites drifted high over the maintenance area heading in an easterly direction.
Several male Pine Siskins have been singing most mornings near the Maclay House and there are still up to 150 Cedar Waxwings depleting berry supplies in the gardens.
A fine Louisiana Waterthrush showed very well at The Pond for Seminole Audubon's guided tour of the gardens on 25th and singing Prairie Warblers have been present since 28th. Both Great Crested Flycatcher and Summer Tanager were firsts of the spring on 29th.
At least 3 White-throated Sparrows remained in the gardens until the end of the month and "Old Sam Peabody" can often be heard at dawn and dusk. Other winter lingerers included Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots on Lake Overstreet, a drake Lesser Scaup on Lake Hall and Eastern Phoebe, American Goldfinch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Tree Swallow, Chipping Sparrow and American Robin have been present until the month's end.
Owls have been very vocal lately, mostly the Barred but also Great Horned and Eastern Screech. The most interesting owl record of the month though was a probable Barn Owl seen at dusk flying across Meridian Rd by a homeward bound ranger not too far from Miller Landing Rd.
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