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Charlie Ewell of Cape Coral visited Gainesville today in search of his
first-ever Mississippi Kite, but since kites are aloft throughout the day
there was no hurry about seeing them, so we started the morning at Newnans
Lake. We went first to the Windsor boat ramp, which was notable mainly for
the huge congregation of waders in the phalarope cove: I counted 217 Great
Egrets. A few shorebirds flew past, but most of the shorebird action was at
Gum Root Swamp. Our list from the latter location included:
Great Egret  68 (thus, a total of 285 at the two sites)
Glossy Ibis  1
Roseate Spoonbill  1
Black-necked Stilt  29
Greater Yellowlegs  6
Lesser Yellowlegs  ~110
Short-billed (presumably) Dowitcher  7
Caspian Tern  1
Forster's Tern  1
I'm fairly certain I saw a Stilt Sandpiper as well, but it disappeared
before I could get a diagnostic look. The vegetation that's taking over the
mud between the cypresses and the shoreline is interesting: some
pickerelweed, a surprising number of what I took to be seedling cottonwood
trees, and tons of willows. If the willows take hold and grow up, we won't
be able to see the lake anymore.

We went on to the La Chua Trail, where we got Charlie his Mississippi Kite
before we even left the parking area. We walked down onto the Prairie
anyways, and found Howard Adams on a tractor, mowing an area beside the
collapsed culvert for the contractor who's supposed to start repairing it
shortly. Howard hopes the trail will be reopened sometime in September or
October. Not that there will be much to see at Alachua Lake. There's still
no water anywhere but Alachua Sink, which is filled with alligators (three
of them bellowing, head and tail elevated). Charlie and I saw nothing else
of interest but a couple Indigo Buntings and two American Coots (in the
Sink).

Our last stop was San Felasco Hammock, where we walked the first part of the
loop trail off the parking lot. Perhaps because it was early afternoon
things were very slow. We found a male Hooded Warbler singing, two Red-eyed
Vireos, and nothing else of note. No early Black-and-white Warblers, no
Louisiana Waterthrushes, no Acadian Flycatchers or Yellow-throated Vireos,
even.

Rex Rowan
2041 NE 15th Terrace
Gainesville, FL  32609

Everyone should have a hobby;
I however prefer an obsession.