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On Tuesday morning (7/18) Al and I saw two Snail Kites.  One Snail Kite was
hunting over the reeds at the north end of Chisholm Park on the east side
of East Lake Toho near Narcoosee.  The bird was being mobbed by two
Red-winged Blackbirds, but then must have flown over a blackbird "colony,"
because suddenly 30 blackbirds flew out of the reeds and began mobbing the
kite.  This harassment continued for as long as we watched.  Chisholm Park
is north of St. Cloud, 2.4 miles north of US-192/441, on the west side of
County Road 15.

The second Snail Kite was at Whaley's Landing on the east side of Lake
Toho, on the same posts where Linda and Buck Cooper had reported one a
month ago.  There are about six posts to the right of the boat ramp, and we
watched the kite as it moved from one post to another while it preened, and
later had a snack.  The posts are so close that you can get a good view of
the bird just using binoculars.  At one point, the lone Roseate Spoonbill
in the area positioned itself so that we had the spoonbill and kite in the
same binocular field of view.  To reach Whaley's Landing, follow US-192/441
west from the junction of CR-15 (mentioned above), and turn left on Neptune
Road.  At the first stop sign, turn left on Kissimmee Park Road (we
couldn't find the street name at that corner, but found it further down the
road).  In several miles there is a sign indicating a left turn to the boat
ramp, on 525A.

On Wednesday (7/19) we enjoyed birding in the area south of Belle Glades
about which there have been reports the last several weeks.  While the
numbers of both species and individual birds may be greatly reduced from
past weeks, we still found it good birding.

From Belle Glade, take CR-880 southeast, and turn right on Browns Farm Road
in about 6 miles when CR-880 forks left.  Browns Farm Road (CR-827) is a
paved road, but we didn't see any road name or number at the intersection.
In three miles, we parked at the pulloff, and walked across the concrete
bridge to the yard where a lot of heavy earth-moving equipment was parked.
We walked down the road past the house, and scanned the field on the left.
While the field was drying up, there was still standing water, and a number
of birds, though some were frustratingly far away.

Aside from numerous herons and egrets and both ibis, we saw many Fulvous
Whistling-Ducks and Black-necked Stilts, Yellowlegs (mostly Lesser), 2
Pectoral Sandpipers, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, plus 5 or 6 Gull-billed Terns
that were hawking insects above the field.

Further down Browns Farm Road, about 3/4 mile beyond Miami Sod Farm, we
looked at the conifers on the right, and then the wires, and palm trees
beyond this, searching for the White-tailed Kite that had been seen in
earlier weeks.  Even though we checked this area twice, about two hours
apart, we didn't find the kite, but we did see two Red-shouldered Hawks
there (one immature) and an Osprey.  About halfway between this spot and
the field mentioned above, a Bald Eagle perched on a power pole.

We also stopped at the pond at the University of Florida Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences, which also bore the names Everglades Research
and Education Center, and Everglades Environmental Station.  From Browns
Farm Road, heading back toward Belle Glade, this is on the left, half a
mile before the flashing light at Duda Road.  While you can get a distant
view of this pond from CR-880, we followed Clay Kelsey's suggestion of
getting a better view by driving straight back through the campus, and
turning left, past two houses, to the dike.  While we were viewing the
birds, Dr. Darren (sp?) stopped to talk, and requested that in the future
birders should stop at the first building on the right, and ask permission
of the receptionist to the left inside the front door, before driving in.
He was concerned about security, since people are living on campus, and
said they may have to install gates.  It is definitely worthwhile getting
permission to drive in, because you can get much closer views of the ducks
and shorebirds.

At the UF pond, we saw over 100 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks, 7 Black-bellied
Ducks, many Black-necked Stilts and Lesser and a few Greater Yellowlegs, 2
Short-billed Dowitchers, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, and a Solitary Sandpiper.

Bev Hansen
Spring Hill, FL
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