Here's what I did for the rest of the weekend.  Another late night run for
birds.  This time I did not get up until 0300.  I headed to New Smyrna Beach
for the Turtle Mound area (140 miles from Brandon.)  Sir Harry's famous
place for pelagics seemed like the best bet.  For once, I guessed the
weather right.  The winds were blowing hard off the ocean, good for getting
pelagic migrants (Long-tailed jaeger, Sabine's gull, Albatross?)    Well, I
faithfully set up my scope at the south end of the north end of Canaveral
National Seashore.  There is a colony of winky birds that regularly visit
this area, heading further south into the more secluded sections of the
beach.  Winky birds have an aversion to cameras or devices that appear to be
cameras.  I had a few interesting and brief conversations with a few before
they headed off to pursue their avocation.  With the sun rising slightly
south and the general movement coming from the north, my scanning was
primarily to the north.  I could not help but look over my shoulder and be
amused.  It was interesting to observe how I would often be observed for
several minutes as each newcomer would arrive in the parking lot.  Satisfied
that I was just looking at birds, they would eventually set off on their
mission.  What birds did I see?  Diddly squat (not on the ABA list.)  I
guessed the weather right, but there were just no birds to be seen.  One
Sooty tern flopped directly over me at first light, but there was nothing
but a few gulls (Herring, Laughing, and Great black-backed.)  There was a
light movement of Peregrines, a Merlin, and a Harrier.  Herons of several
species were on the move as were a few individual ducks (teal?)  After about
three hours, I hit the back side of the dune at the boat launch.  There was
a Clay-colored sparrow, and a Blackpoll warbler.  The warbler was the second
pelagic bird of the day.  Blackpolls normally migrate offshore in the fall
from New York to South America in one long flight.  When they encounter
strong east winds, they often end up on land, usually on the east coast.
Next, I headed out to Castle Windy Trail.  I had been there once, about 10
years ago, but I did not remember what was there.  I was going to just go
out and explore and enjoy.  The trail was pretty cool.  It wanders through
many old dune lines and was a splendid example of Maritime Hammock, one of
my favorite natural communities.  There were some birds along the way as
well.  A really nice look at another Blackpoll, several ovenbirds and a
couple of Painted buntings.  Eldora had the most warblers.  There were more
Painted as well as Indigo buntings.  Cape May warblers (first of the fall
for me) were present as well as lots of Red-eyed vireos.  Smyrna Dunes Park
had lots of gulls and terns, but nothing really rare.  There were a few
Piping plovers.  Not much for songbirds, but I did look at the tree where
the Kirtland's warbler showed up two years ago.  One last check at the dead
beach.  The winds had picked up, so it may be good.  Nada.  Head over to the
mainland and check Shorebreeze Park (name?) in Oak Hill.  The park was
infested with riding mowers.  I was able to get sufficiently far from their
breeding chorus to see and hear a few birds.  There were a few parulas, and
a Summer tanager.  One last check of the causeway to the closed MINWR for
wayward gulls and shorebirds.  Just the usual.  On to the Mom and Dad
Hilton.  Next day, Turkey Creek or Jetty Park / Lori Wilson.  Following the
guidance of the pale morph Radamaker, I stayed coastal.  Jetty Park has the
beginnings of a good flock of migrant gulls and terns at the beach at first
light.  There were a few Common terns and an adult Lesser black-backed gull.
The woods had a good number of migrants.  The most abundant was Cape May.
There were at least a dozen around the Melaleuca trees.  Apparently they
like flowers in the fall as well as spring.  Lori Wilson Park produced
another Blackpoll and a few other birds, mostly in the disturbed lot north
of the park.  Check Turkey Creek on the way home?  No, its time to get back
to work.  I had to put in a few hours in the afternoon and then do an Owl
Prowl that evening.  We got a couple of semi-cooperative screech owls and
heard a few Swainson's thrushes flying over.  Calling Gopher frogs were the
highlight of the prowl.

Now for this weekend.  SE Florida is the target.  Sunday I will hookup with
the pale morph Radamaker and we will kick some bird butt in Miami and who
knows where else?

David Simpson
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Sebastian, FL

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