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Hi all,

    Erik Haney & I took a trip from St. Pete down to Kissimmee Prairie
Preserve State Park and return on Saturday. I had not been to the new state
park and figured it would be a nice day's birding. We had a number of
Caracaras, one of which was near the DeSoto - Sarasota Co. line on S.R.70. I
haven't seen that many Caracaras west of Arcadia.
    At Kissimmee Prairie, we ran into Buck & Linda Cooper & team searching
for butterflies. A pair of "Florida" Kestrels were seen just NW of the
entrance gate. We found one Florida Grasshopper Sparrow and three Bachman's
Sparrows along the road/firebreak that runs north from the campground. The
birds were about 1/2 mile north of the campground. An earlier arrival would
have produced more Grasshopper Sparrows. Another spot to check is by the
parking area where the road to the campground turns due west. We also had
Common Nighthawks flying around in several locations. One down side - even
out here in the middle of nowhere, Eurasian Collared Doves are present. I
could shut my eyes and think I was in St. Pete!
    Several pairs of Burrowing Owls are nesting in an east-west road about 1
1/2 miles from the campground. Chris, the park biologist informed au that
there are three active White-tailed Kite nests in the Preserve, and a forth,
which had been abandoned earlier, had a pair of adults and a juvenile hanging
around it Saturday morning. The difficulty of seeing these birds is that they
are miles from any easy public access. The Preserve is huge (54,000 acres I
believe Chris said), and easy public access covers only a small area.
    This park is a great place to camp if you love solitude and the Florida
Prairie country!
Get out and walk and enjoy the "Real Florida." We also had juvenile Sandhill
Cranes and a number of deer in the preserve.
    On the Lake Wales Ridge near Lake Placid, we had the usual White-winged
Doves, Scrub Jays, etc. We only had one Swallow-tailed Kite near Myakka Head
on S.R. 64 coming home.

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