This past Saturday I led the local Audubon down to Shark Valley. We met at 7:00 and it was near 9:30 by the time we reached our first birding spots. My first surprise was a female Snail Kite seen on 41 west of the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, it was not surprising to see this species as I've never missed them near Shark Valley, but I wasn't expecting to see this bird that cloase to Naples. Fakahatchee Strand produced good pockets of feeding warblers along the gate 7 trail off Janes Loop Scenic Trail. We had dark and light adult Short-taileds above the office and restroom areas here and a distant backlit myiarchus flycatcher that appeared very light overall without the contrast between breast and belly. The bird may have been an Ash-throated and it was seen low on the guide wires of the radio tower behind the residences that can be seen from the office. The area was clearly gated and we couldn't find anyone to ask for access after the bird dropped out of view so it was left as another could have been. I thought I'd mention it for others who may be in the area though.

Overall we saw 77 species and hundreds of gators. 

Some species are listed below:

Least Bittern (shark valley)
Snail Kite (as many as 11 between 40 mile bend and Shark Valley)
Short-tailed Hawk (pr adults over Fakahatchee Strand)
Purple Gallinule (5 along Shark Valley tram route) 
Grasshopper Sparrow (in taller grass at sides of closed airboat ride area between 40 mile bend and Shark Valley)

Good Birding,

Jeff Bouton
Port Charlotte, FL
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