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Yesterday, 12/30/03, I had the pleasure of guiding two visiting
California birders, Andrea & Chuck Tralka to some areas in Lee, Hendry &
Palm Beach Counties in pursuit of lifers. We did well, although there
were some big misses. Our best birds of the day, in no particular order,
were as follows:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (x3) -- South Clewiston along C.R. 835.
Painted Bunting (x1 female) and Indigo Bunting (x4) -- White's feeders in
Alva.
White-winged Dove (x2) -- White's feeders in Alva.
American Goldfinch -- about a dozen or more at White's feeders in Alva.
Peregrine Falcon -- along Bolles Canal on C.R. 827, south of South Bay.
Crested Caracara (x6) -- mostly along C.R. 832 near Devil's Garden.
Sandhill Crane (x2) -- along C.R. 832 near Devil's Garden.
Red-headed Woodpecker (x1) -- along Parkinson Road, Alva.
Purple Swamphen (x4) -- Stormwater Treatment Area #5 off of Blumberg Rd,
Hendry County.
More Northern Harriers than I've ever seen in one day! -- various
locations.

Big misses: Florida Scrub-Jay (Lee County locales); Fulvous
Whistling-Duck (Stormwater Treatment #5); Barn Owl (along Miami Canal);
Smooth-billed Ani (along Bolles Canal on C.R. 827).

We ended the day with a "life snake" for Chuck & Andrea. After leaving
Stormwater Treatment Area #5, we nearly ran over a Dusky Pygmy
Rattlesnake that was "flattened" on Blumberg Road. Apparently, it was
doing this so as to absorb as much heat from the black macadam as
possible. I swear it looked flattened by a car tire! As I approached the
small snake, thinking it "dead", it rattled its tail and raised its
arrowhead-shaped head and exposed its fangs to me. It remained in that
position until we left. Pretty cool stuff. . . .

Good birding and Happy New Year to all!

Vincent Lucas
Naples

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