Hi Floridabirders,

Spent a little over 8 hours birding St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday with 70 species seen or heard.  A few of the duck species, the male Cinnamon Teal (Headquarters Pond) and the 1st. year female Vermilion Flycatcher (T-dike) were not to be found this day.  Still, a beautiful day, cool with clear blue skies and a lot of good birds.

While on the T-dike looking for the flycatcher, a great blue heron flew from the base of the dike carrying a large mudfish.  The heron dropped down behind some tall reeds, out of my sight about 400 feet north of the dike to enjoy its afternoon snack in peace.  Or so it thought.  A few minutes later an adult bald eagle was casually soaring a hundred feet over my head, slowly drifting north in the general direction of the heron and its prized catch.  Once over the area where the heron had settled, the eagle went into an osprey hover before folding in its wings and diving straight for the ground.  The eagle disappeared behind those tall reeds, again out of my line of sight. How I wish I had a better perspective for the anticipated battle royal.  As As I was expecting to see the feathers fly, the heron began vocalizing brutally for what I thought was more than a minute, most likely less.  Until the eagle reappeared above the reeds, flying rapidly southwest as if it was intent on!
 out of Dodge".  Of note, the eagles talons were empty.  The Great Blue won the battle and kept its mudfish to boot!  If only those reeds were a little shorter.

I submitted my St. Marks total on the GBBC Saturday night.  What surprised me tonight after checking GBBC results, that with all the birders at St. Marks Saturday, my count was the only one submitted.  Additionally, only two other refuges in the state were reported in the area tallies.

And congratulations to the Tally birders, number 1 on the list of all the locations reported. Great reporting!

Harry Hooper
Tallahassee, Florida

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