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Subject: Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Great White Heron in Lake City.
From: Rex Rowan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rex Rowan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 24 Aug 2006 19:55:15 -0400

text/plain (40 lines)

Virlyn Willis informed me that the northern section of Alligator Lake in 
Lake City (Columbia County) has just about dried up. He'd seen a number 
of shorebirds there yesterday, but without a scope he'd been unable to 
identify them.

So I drove up this afternoon and found a large expanse of bare mud cut 
by a narrow channel and dotted with a few small pools. There were lots 
of Wood Storks (Virlyn had counted 112) and Great and Snowy Egrets. 
There were also a good number of shorebirds, mostly Pectorals, with fair 
numbers of Lesser Yellowlegs and Leasts, a few Killdeer, Solitaries, and 
Semipalmated Sandpipers, one Spotted, and one Buff-breasted. As I stood 
on the fishing dock, all these birds were to my right, and then a 
Cooper's Hawk made a pass and they all flew away to my left, settling 
some distance away.

As I first walked out the dock I noticed a Great Egret standing in the 
mud, but a second glance took in the black on the massive yellow bill 
and then the yellowish legs - it was a Great White Heron. It didn't seem 
at all shy, and I got to watch from close range as it plucked an 
eighteen-inch Greater Siren from the mud.

Alligator Lake has two access points on its west side, a north and a 
south, and the birds are at the north end. Take US-441/41 north to Lake 
City, and when 41 and 441 diverge follow 441. Ignore the first boat ramp 
sign, after the high school, but turn right at the next, which is a 
couple miles further on, right after the big Department of 
Transportation building. (The lake is overgrown with lotus at the 
eastern access, off Country Club Road, and very few water birds are 
visible there.)

Rex Rowan

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