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Hank and I decided to make a quick day trip to Ft. De Soto Park today to attempt to find the Heerman's Gull. We left Port. St. Lucie at 7 am and arrived at the park about 10:15. We went to the East Beach turn around first since that would have been the only place I could have seen the bird from the car. No luck there for the gull, but we did see several molting Wilson's Plovers, Semi-palmated Plovers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Willet, Sanderling, Black Skimmer, Least, Forster's and Royal Terns. Also saw two Magnificent Frigatebirds.

Next we went to East Beach picnic area where the gull has been reported recently. Hank walked out to the beach first to see if the gull was there and still no luck. We went to North Beach and checked the wooded area and found no migrants. We watched some of the same shorebirds on the flats, catching a quick glimpse of a Long-billed Curlew over a sand dune. We met a birder who said she had just seen the Heerman's Gull at the picnic area, so back we went. It was getting quite hot as it was almost noon by this time. 

The walkway to the beach is paved to the deep sand so I had a view from my wheelchair of many Laughing Gulls, but not the Heerman's. There was no way to get closer. Just then a couple of people walked pretty close to the gull and he moved up the dune and came into my view. Yeah! My luck held up, since it seems many times that birds seem to know I can't get to them, so they show themselves. He is a nice looking bird. 

It was just too hot to stay any longer so we headed back east. We decided to take CR 675 from I-75 to look for the 3 Burrowing owls that were reported a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure just where they were seen but knew it was near Parrish. Going east from Parrish it started to rain pretty hard and I saw three birds that could be the owls through the rain on the window. Hank turned around and went back and two of them were perched on fence posts with their wings outstretched, catching every raindrop. Then the young one flew in and joined in the shower. It was such fun watching them as they waved their wings and fluffed their feathers in the rain. They were perched on the south side of the road just past Green Glen Rd.

We returned home on SR 70 and saw 2 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks bathing in standing water along the south side of the road. This was 11.5 miles west of US 27. A little farther down the road we saw a Common Nighthawk sleeping crosswise on a wire directly over the traffic. 

Dotty Hull
Port St. Lucie, FL
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