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Hi all,

Today I birded the beach at Sebastian Inlet to take advantage of the fierce northeast winds.  Yesterday I birded the beach at Patrick Air Force base briefly and saw two pelicans, a cormorant, and a Laughing gull.  That was it!  The wind was directly out of the north and whipping.  I expected at least a few hawks and jaegers to be moving.  Today the winds were Northeast shifting toward East.  I stood at the beach north of the inlet for 2.5 hours this morning and was not disappointed.  The best birds were a pair of Surf scoters that were making their way north just past the surf.  There were a few gannets, lots of Laughing gulls going south and several Herring gulls going north.  There were three Peregrines along the beach.  An early Cedar waxwing was seen and heard near the north parking lot.  I checked the woods and fields around the inlet for songbirds.  There were 8 species of warblers.  I saw my first of many Magnolia warblers.  A Tennessee was hanging with tons of palms and yellowthroats in the field next to the tidal pool.  Three peregrines and a cooper's were hanging around in the dead Australian pines around the field.

Jungle Trail was next on the agenda.  I checked the best areas since I had very little morning left.  At the north end (ca. 3 1/2 miles south of the inlet) I found Painted and Indigo buntings and a Blue grosbeak.  There was another Magnolia warbler as well as other common warblers.  Two peregrine falcons were squabbling with each other over the former orange grove.  A reddish egret seemed out of place in a ditch in the woods.  I next checked the south section of the trail.  About 3 miles further south there is an entrance to a country club.  Jungle trail crosses the entrance road before you get to the main gate.  There is some remnant hammock in this area which is usually productive for something.  There were some fairly silent birds in this area.  It was getting toward the middle of the day and I think the activity was beginning to ebb.  I did see a Scarlet tanager and a Gray-cheeked thrush as well as another Magnolia warbler.

After lunch I headed up to the Maritime Hammock Preserve a Brevard County EEL purchase in the south beaches just north of Floridana Beach.  There are actually several parcels in this area.  I used to do bird surveys in the area south of Treetops when it was purchased in '94.  I birded both north and south of the Treetops condos.  There were some birds moving despite the heat of the day.  I found two more Magnolias and several ovenbirds and redstarts.  The place has grown up a bit since I was last there, but I was still able to find some of my favorite spots.

On the way back home, I decided to check an area on the St. Sebastian River Buffer Preserve (a.k.a. my back yard.)  There were a few warblers including two I had not seen yet today, Black-throated green and Northern waterthrush.  I saw one Swainson's Thrush.  I had a frustrating look at an Empidonax flycatcher.  It was in the treetops doing what flycatchers do.  I moved over to get a look at the primary extension and the bird moved to where I would have had a great view if I had stayed put.  The  bird pulled a switcharoo on me.  It flew out on a flycatching sortie and when to looped back into the tree it went to the exact spot where a parula was and disappeared.  The parula flew at that exact moment and I followed it with my eye and put the binoculars on it expecting to see a flycatcher.  Imagine my surprise.  I believe the flycatcher was a juvenile based on the buffy wing bars.  It was very gray underneath, no trace of yellow.  The throat was whitish and the eye ring was present, but not particularly showy.  I don't think it was a Yellow-bellied or Acadian, either would show at least some yellow, probably alot.  It was not active at all as far as tail flicking or pumping.  I wanted it to be a Traill's type flycatcher, but I could not rule out Least.  Of course, it didn't give a whit.

Tomorrow it is off to Miami to peruse the urban ecosystems for birds from distant lands and then on to the keys and maybe Tortugas.

David Simpson
Sebastian, FL
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