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Hi folks,

Thanks for the help from all of you who chimed in with helpful hints and
local knowledge.  I have learned a bit more about the west coast in the last
month or so.  That will pay off in the future Big Days.  For now, I just
wanted to take a quick minute and tell y'all the plan for the July Big Day.

The basic route is Tallahassee - Fort DeSoto - Celery Fields - Babcock Webb,
PB County Muck Farms - Miami - Card Sound Road.

The route is focusing on breeders, migrant shorebirds, and keys specialties.
July Big Days are on the cusp of breeding birds vs. migrant birds.  Early in
the month you have more breeders and less migrants.  Later in the month, you
have more migrants and less breeders.  I chose to do this on July 13th,
attempting to get the best of both worlds.  Also, it gives me a second
chance later if it doesn't work.  I won't bore you with the logic that led
to this conclusion or the endless miles spent checking things out.  I will
give a brief update on what I found.

Muck Farms of Palm Beach County

There are several flooded fields along US27 south of South Bay and Miami
Canal south of Lakeshore (name?)  Check a map to see where these areas are.
About 9 miles south of South Bay, there are fields on both sides of the
road.  The fields on the east side have lots of stilts and Lesser
yellowlegs.  There are a few Greater yellowlegs and Least sandpipers.  I
have seen one pair of Fulvous whistling ducks here a couple weeks ago.
Otherwise they have been scarce.  A few white pelicans are here as well.
Along Miami Canal, the fields are still pretty full (of water).  There were
plenty of white pelicans and waders there a week ago.

Fort DeSoto

Lots of shorebirds.  Many Snowy plovers at North Beach Concession yesterday.
Long-billed curlew was back.  A strange Sandwich tern with a mostly yellow
bill.  No sign of Herman in the last couple visits.  I'm not sure about his
routine.  Apparently it is designed to avoid me.

Tallahassee area

St. Mark's is virtually birdless.  The high water has driven away the
shorebirds.  There are virtually no waders.  Even the birds that are usually
at the lighthouse marsh were gone.  The Wilson's plovers were gone both
times I went and even the Willets were no shows the other night.  There are
still some breeders present.  I had a Hooded warbler at the twin bridges and
a catbird near Stony Bayou.  These may have bee post breeding wanderers.  In
the warbler department, Pine, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary, and chat have
virtually shut down.  Orioles are silent.  Kentucky's are very quiet.
Swainson's and Hooded continue to sing well.  Even the Wood thrush near FSU
is singing like it's spring.  That' pretty much to be expected for the time
of year.

Celery Fields

I finally found where the cranes are hanging out.  If you go to the north
end of the road east of the gazebo and look around the pond to the
northeast, you may see them.  I'm hoping that they will be there Sunday.
The whistling ducks were at the same pond.  I found the Limpkin in the ditch
on the west side of Celery Fields this time.

I'm going frogging Sierra Club style tonight.  Tomorrow, The Punk and I set
off for some last minute checking and enact the plan on Sunday.  Maybe for a
fleeting moment we will be ahead of Georgia for the month of July before
Giff and co. crush the record.

David Simpson
[log in to unmask]
Fellsmere, FL

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