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Floridabirders,

I spent a little time kayaking Lake Jackson, just north of Tallahassee today
(5:30 to 7:15 p.m.when is a little cooler) For those not familiar with the
lake, it has been one of the best large open-bodies of water in north
Florida for bass fishing (and birding). The lake cleans itself naturally by
drying up approximately every 25 years. This time it did it about 10 years
early. So as it has been filling back up, the bird life has varied over time
with some very good finds from time to time. Since the water table is about
3 feet below normal (and we are again in a draught), the majority of the
lake (normally open water) is comprised of several types of grasses and
reeds growing in 6 inches to 2 feet of water. There are several trails and
small open bodies of water that can be kayaked through the dense and tall
vegetation.  Birds were widely scattered today but the usual lake species
were around, Common Moorhen, Coot, Great Egret, Green Heron, Common and
Boat-tailed Grackles, Red-winged Blackbird, Osprey, Eastern Kingbird, no
Great Blue Heron though. But the neat find were about 150 beautifully
plumaged Bobolinks on a roost out in the middle of the lake. These birds
appear to be a little late on their migration. There were approximately 10
females to each male.

One word of caution, if you decide to bird the lake by canoe or kayak , pole
mount a large orange or red flag at least 6 feet above the surface of the
water. This will give other boaters and airboats a chance to know that you
are down in the reeds. Also, be prepared to possibly get lost by missing
your trail back to the landing (s). These trails are narrow and can look
different at different angles.

Good birding on the lake.

Harry Hooper
Tallahassee, Florida

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