Pardon the late post: My husband, son, and I had quite a walk at Emeralda
Marsh Conservation area on February 22 (last Thursday). The Great Florida
Birding Trail guide was helpful in identifying this site, which is located
north of Mt. Dora. It was also recommended to me by Bernie Yokel, to whom I
express great thanks! We had an incredible day of birding (and walking).

Take Rt 441 North to Rt 44 East, go left (N) on Emeralda Road, make left at
"T" onto Emeralda Island Road. First entrance is on the left 0.5 miles
ahead (this is where we began) but there are several other entrances at .9
miles and 1.8 miles up the road.

One word of caution if you are a newcomer to Emeralda Marsh....the dirt
road that traverses the marsh is a long one...we estimate about 6-7 miles.
Go with food and water. The road begins as in woodlands and eventually
turns into a dike that traverses marshes and eventually, the open waters of
Lake Griffin.  We didn't anticipate such a long trip, having very little
information about the interior, and wound up being out there for nearly 4
hours with our 1 year old on our back, with no food and water. We
eventually returned to the road about 2 miles further up from where we
parked. We caught a ride from a friendly motorist the last two miles to the
car.  It was a little "adventure" but the birding was worth it! Saw about
50 species:

double crested cormorant
while pelican
great blue heron
great egrets (all over, and about a dozen sat on a roosting tree)
snowy egrets (just a few)
little blue heron
black-crowned night heron
white ibis
glossy ibis
blue winged teal
common moorhen
American coot
*see my question below about wood storks

turkey vulture
black vulture
red-shouldered hawks
red-tailed hawks
bald eagle
american kestrel
**possible juvenile bald eagle

downy woodpecker
hairy woodpecker
red-bellied woodpecker
pileated woodpecker

Northern parula warbler
yellow-rumped warbler
common yellowthroat
blue-gray gnatcatcher
American robin
brown thrasher
grey catbird
Northern mockingbird
blue jay
red-winged blackbird
boat-tailed grackle
fish crow
Eastern phoebe (I'm convinced that one individual followed us along our
trail, snapping up gnats that were kicked up by our footsteps)
white-throated sparrow
mourning dove
rock dove
tufted titmouse
Carolina wren
Northern cardinal
American goldfinch

*I have a question about WOOD STORKS: We looked up at one point to watch a
soaring group of birds...there were a few vultures mixed with what we
thought to be White Pelicans (white forewing and black hind-wings).
Assuming (too quickly) we had made the correct identity, we didn't look
very closely at the black and white birds.

**the juvenile BALD EAGLE was a large raptor, with fanned tail and a very
dark underside blotched with white.

Then I read in the Sibley guide that White Pelicans and Wood Storks are
both known to soar, and pelicans tend to form a v. formation while storks
soar in unorganized cluster ...We definitely saw an unorganized cluster
that circled above. But they did at first glance appear to be white
pelicans. I wonder if someone could tell me how stringent this rule white pelicans sometimes soar in loose formations?


Laura M. Kammermeier, Project FeederWatch
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, New York 14850

FeederWatch web site:
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PH (607) 254-2457  FAX 607-254-2415