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St. Marks NWR-Sunday Morning

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  • Don Morrow
    It was a quiet morning at the refuge. There was nothing moving at the Double Bridges, where the creeks had flooded all of the surrounding bottomlands. All of
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 25, 2013
      It was a quiet morning at the refuge. There was nothing moving at the Double Bridges, where the creeks had flooded all of the surrounding bottomlands. All of the ponds are full due to the recent heavy rainfall, but most had few birds. Stony Bayou I, East River Pool and Lighthouse Pond were almost empty. However, for the enterprising birder willing to get bitten by numerous mosquitos and deer flies because of a personal aversion to bug spray, there were birds to be found.

      Lighthouse Flats from the viewing platform
      Laughing Gull
      Black Skimmer (about 75, including several immature plumage birds)
      Royal Tern
      Sandwich Tern
      Common Tern (at least one in nonbreeding plumage, showing a carpal bar)
      Forester's Tern
      Black-bellied Plover (several in intermediate plumage)
      Willet

      There were Ruddy Turnstones and Willets on exposed rocks offshore, but scanning produced no loons or grebes. It's still early.

      Firetower Pond
      Blue-winged Teal (five)
      Tricolored heron
      Snowy Egret
      Little Blue Heron
      Reddish Egret
      Greater Yellowlegs
      Lesser Yellowlegs
      Semipalmated Sandpiper
      Willet

      Headquarters Pond (little open water, mostly covered by white waterlily)
      Common Gallinule
      Purple Gallinule
      Least Bittern

      There were Yellow Warblers and Eastern Kingbirds in the willows near the East River Pool boat ramp. Eastern Kingbirds start flocking up here in August, prior to crossing the gulf.

      It's still summer. The humidity is approximately 131%. However, there are migrants about, fall wildflowers are blooming and the red maple leaves are starting to turn. It's time to shake off your summer torpor and go birding.




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