Today, in my never-ending search for the best passerine "fallout"
locations in Collier County, I decided to try a place that I had not
visited since last spring, namely Sugden Regional Park in Naples. I also
visited Eagle Lakes Community Park, Fritchey Road Wetlands and ended up
with a brief stop at the North Naples Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Sugden Park proved to be rewarding with my FOS killer looks at a
Yellow-throated Vireo. Warblers were few but I did have four Blackburnian
Warblers, two Black-and-whites, two Prairies and one Yellow-throated. One
Eastern Wood-Pewee co-operated by calling right in front of me as did a
Great Crested Flycatcher. Both Red-eyed Vireo and White-eyed were seen
with the former being more numerous. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were the most
common bird at this location. Twenty-five Chimney Swifts chattered
overhead and a few Purple Martins were seen heading south over Lake

Next stop, Eagle Lakes Community Park. This was almost a waste of time.
For the life of me, I can't understand why the Collier County department
that supposedly oversees these mitigation ponds, apparently doesn't care
about their viability. The main pond (the one with the Bald Cypress trees
directly ahead when one enters the park) are entirely choked with Water
Lettuce to the point where there is basically NO open water and the only
birds present were a few Common Moorhen, Tricolored Heron and Anhingas.
I'm afraid that if nothing is done soon, these ponds will become so
impacted that they will cease to attract any wildlife. What a pity.

At the Fritchey Road Wetlands, two Snail Kites (probably the pair that
was found there last fall/winter) remain. Barn Swallows were streaming by
hawking for insects. Among them, I was able to pick out one Bank Swallow
(uncommon in Collier County) and a few Purple Martins.

Just south of where Greenway Rd. intersects U.S. Rte. 41, one can find
the Gargiulo Orchards Packing Plant that sits empty. A person on a
backhoe was digging along the canal that borders this property. Among the
wading birds anxiously waiting a chance at a tasty morsel from the
overturned muck, were 25+ Wood Storks. In some recently plowed fields
(now almost entirely dried out) also on the Gargiulo property, were an
estimated 1500+ Laughing Gulls variously flying around the turned-up
"sand" (no "soil" per se). Most were sitting where puddles of water
remained. I saw some distant peeps out there but I could not get on them
as they were well over a mile out and there was no suitable vantage point
to view them.

My last stop of the day was a brief look at the North Naples Wastewater
Treatment Plant on Goodlette-Frank Rd. There were two Black Terns and
three Sandwich Terns plying the impoundments. The Black Terns were only
the 2nd and 3rd ones I've seen all summer in Collier County. They were
much more prevalent last summer. Have others noticed the lack of Black
Terns this year?

All in all, it was a nice relaxing birding morning. For directions and
maps to these places, go to the "Local Birding Hot Spots" section of the
Caloosa Bird Club. I'm the webmaster. Here's the URL:

Watch your syntax!

Good birding!

Vincent Lucas

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