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Greetings:

Yesterday, Peter Murphy and myself made an ill-fated attempt to find the
MacGillivray's Warbler over in Pompano Beach at the Fern Forest Park.
Despite help from birding notables like Wally George and others, we were
unable to find the bird. Ken Rosenberg (of the Rosenberg "birding"
dynasty i.e. father Eddie and brother Gary) said he briefly saw the bird
at about 10:30a.m. We were there and could only come up with a Sedge
Wren. . . .

Our next stop was the small lake (still need confirmation if this is
called Crystal Lake) by the Broward/Pompano Beach Landfill to see the
Glaucous Gull. This was a lifer for the "Parrot Lady" -- Susan Epps and a
Florida bird for Peter. I saw the bird last week. We had no trouble
finding the Glaucous Gull in among the raft of 1500 other gulls.

On our way back to Naples, we took an alternate route off of I-75
(Alligator Alley). We headed north at the Big Cypress Seminole Indian
Rest Stop on the Broward County line. I believe that this is called
Government Rd. (cf. DeLorme p. 113). After entering Hendry Co. on this
road, our birding luck began to change. We found two Scissor-tailed
Flycatchers and two Western Kingbirds on the wires on the left (west)
side of the road about 8 miles north of I-75 and perhaps 1.5 miles south
of the Reservation itself. We continued on Government Rd. until it became
C.R. 833. Perhaps it is C.R. 833 all along? Anyway, before turning east
on C.R. 846, we saw several Sandhill Cranes feeding in a plowed field. We
would see more of these birds further on.

Heading east toward Immokalee, still on C.R. 846 in Hendry Co., we spied
two Crested Caracaras feeding along the road. We had nice long looks at
these birds as they took flight and landed in a nearby tree. (We would
later see at least one more Crested Caracara in Collier County also on
C.R. 846.) Not far from this spot, we ran into a large flock of American
Robins and Cedar Waxwings feeding in an orange grove.

Our best stop was at a small farm pond and adjacent ranchland about 2
miles east of the Immokalee Regional Airport on C.R. 846 in Collier
County. The mailbox on the side of the road gave the address as 3151 C.R.
846E (East). We parked on the wide berm and scoped out a few shorebirds
in the pond from the berm of the road (not on private property). There
were two beautiful Solitary Sandpipers in there(!) feeding along with a
Greater Yellowlegs and a Least Sandpiper. In the adjacent field were two
Wild Turkeys and a couple of Sandhill Cranes.  Another Wild Turkey was
seen further along C.R. 846 about a mile down the road.

About 1-2 miles east of the Corkscrew Sanctuary, on 40th Street N.E. off
of C.R. 846, we found two Burrowing Owls in the weedy field at the last
house on the left all the way to the extreme south end of 40th Street.
There were numerous Common Ground-Doves (looking VERY pink) and one
beautiful male Northern Harrier in the area as well.

Our last stop was to check out the new visitor's center at Corkscrew
Sanctuary. The sanctuary itself was closed since it was after 5:00p.m. I
will be the first to admit that Corkscrew is not one of my favorite
places to bird due to the huge amount of people vs. wildlife. This HUGE
new visitor center (replete with cafeteria and artwork for sale up to
$4500 each) is not my 'cup of tea.' There were a lot of slash pine and
saw palmetto (native plants) cut down to make room for this monstrosity
and additional parking lots. In the end, only time will tell if it is
worth it. I also noticed that the admission fee is now $8.00! (OK, $5.00
for Nat'l Audubon members). Still, this is a hefty price to pay, but I
guess someone has to pay for the building. . . .

We did see several Pine, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting around
in the parking lot as well as an Eastern Phoebe. No Northern Bobwhite
however. Interestingly, the docent(?), volunteer(?) at the visitor's
center said that the only bobwhite she knew about at the Sanctuary were
ones that the Conservancy of SW Florida "released." Hmm. . . . I remember
seeing many bobwhite there not too many years ago. In fact, they used to
come right up to you at the picnic tables off the parking lot!

The bird feeders were full of seed but there were no birds coming to them
either. Not even a Red-winged Blackbird yet alone a Painted Bunting. The
plantings around the feeders were sparse and afforded little protection
IMHO. Perhaps this is why they were devoid of birds?

In spite of the aforementioned, I have not totally written-off Corkscrew
Sanctuary. I'm sure that it serves an educational function for the
general public who are 'out-of-touch' with Nature. I'm sure there are
many birds and other wildlife there, remembering the few times that I
have taken part in their Christmas Bird Counts. But these areas are not
generally open to the public. Pity. With the ever-increasing development
right outside the boundaries of the Sanctuary, Corkscrew is fastly
becoming an "island" of habitat without any buffer. Invariably, this has
got to be detrimental to the wildlife that need long corridors of
contiguous habitat to hunt and breed etc. such as Bobcats and Florida
Panthers as well as certain bird species. Flame away. . . .

Vincent Lucas
Naples