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St Marks NWR-Saturday Morning

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  • Don Morrow
    I did the Loon patrol and logged 18 intrepid Common Loons heading into a strong North wind before the morning flight abruptly ended at 7:30 am. I shifted over
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 20, 2013
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      I did the Loon patrol and logged 18 intrepid Common Loons heading into a strong North wind before the morning flight abruptly ended at 7:30 am.

      I shifted over to migration birding and logged the following on Mounds Pool Trail
      American Avocet (6 in breeding plumage on Tower Pond)
      Black-necked Stilt (around 30 on Tower Pond)
      Gray Catbird (many)
      Red-eyed Vireo (many)
      Common Yellowthroat
      Yellow Warbler
      Yellow-rumped Warbler
      Worm-eating Warbler
      Northern Parula
      Blue-winged Warbler
      Eastern Kingbird
      Yellow-billed Cuckoo
      Blue Grosbeak
      Summer Tanager
      Scarlet Tanager (female)

      I had Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows and one Cliff Swallow (sitting on the road) at the East River Pool Boat Ramp.

      I had a Northern Waterthrush at the first of the Double Bridges.

      Chuck-wills-widows are now common in the predawn morning. Sora and Clapper Rails are loud and common around dawn. Barred and Great Horned Owls are still calling.

      Good Birding.


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    • Don Morrow
      At 6:30 am this morning I stopped at the East River Pool boat ramp to listen for Chuck-Wills-Widows. They were calling from everywhere. Then, I noticed that
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 4
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        At 6:30 am this morning I stopped at the East River Pool boat ramp to listen for Chuck-Wills-Widows. They were calling from everywhere. Then, I noticed that the full moon was missing its left side. A lunar eclipse was underway presaging a morning of good birding.

        I went down to the lighthouse to check for migrating loons and by 8:45 am had counted 204 heading North with about 40 returns. I had one flock of 25. I kept checking on the moon's progress. The last time I saw the moon it was only a fat crescent as it disappeared into the ground fog.

        Sora's were calling from the marshes near the lighthouse. I had Bufflehead and Red-breasted Merganser on the Gulf and Blue-winged Teal on Lighthouse Pond. BW Teal have been around in good numbers in the ponds along the entrance road. The largest flock that I saw today was about fifty birds.

        The Mounds Pool trail was quiet. I had early summer residents; Parula Warbler and Great-crested Flycatcher, as well as, lingering winter residents; Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Yellow-rumped Warbler. Tower Pond had five Black-necked Stilts, a breeding plumage American Avocet, winter plumage Black-bellied Plovers, both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers. A single Black Skimmer was hunting the pool. With Stony Bayou I filled and open for boats for the season, this pond will be one of the only good shorebirding spots with easy access.

        I had a female Ruby-throated Hummer feeding on roadside thistles as I drove out.

        Good birding.


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      • Don Morrow
        A cool (for North Florida) summer morning turned out to be a good day for early fall birding at St Marks. I logged 68 species in five hours starting at 6:00 am
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 25 11:47 AM
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          A cool (for North Florida) summer morning turned out to be a good day for early fall birding at St Marks. I logged 68 species in five hours starting at 6:00 am when the automatic gate sprang to life. Chuck-wills-widows have stopped calling and the owls were quiet, but Common Nighthawks were plentiful and four Wood Ducks flew. There's an impressive flight of herons & egrets into East River Pool before sunrise and I had a long ropy cloud of about 1,500 grackles that were flying Westward from their overnight roost. Later in the morning, I had four Yellow Warblers and one Prairie Warbler on the Lighthouse dike trail. Some other highlights of the morning were:

          Double Bridges
          Yellow-billed Cuckoo
          Acadian Flycatcher (adult feeding young)
          Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (two adults feeding two young)
          Red-eyed Vireo
          Black-and-white Warbler (two)
          American Redstart (female)
          Summer Tanager (adult female feeding young)

          Tower Pond
          all the regular heron & egret species
          Reddish Egret
          Roseate Spoonbill (three)
          Black-bellied Plover
          Wilson's Plover
          Semipalmated Plover
          Greater Yellowlegs
          Willet
          Marbled Godwit (Godwit numbers have increased from two weeks ago)
          Ruddy Turnstone
          Semipalmated sandpiper
          Western Sandpiper
          Least Sandpiper
          Short-billed Dowitcher
          Laughing Gull
          Common Tern (two including an immature showing a carpal bar)
          Forster's tern
          Least Tern (single bird)

          Good Birding






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