While others were undoubtedly participating in the Rich Paul New  
Year's Day Open at Ft. De Soto, Arthur Wilson & I were hitting some  
of Collier County's birding hot spots doing a Collier County Century  
Run. For those of you who may not know what a Century Run is, it is a  
term I made-up several years ago when the Naples Bird Club was  
extant. Members would try to see 100+ species of ABA-countable birds  
entirely in Collier County during daylight hours in one day, thus, a  
"century" run/attempt. No, we didn't start at 2:00AM and end at  
midnight like certain other Big Listers and yes, we had fun and saw  
some great birds for Collier County despite its ever-dwindling  
habitats. Anyway, today, I'm pleased to say that Arthur and I  
completed our Century Run -- barely! Art had 100 birds exactly and I  
had 102. Neither of us counted the Great White Heron we found in a  
seasonal wetland just before entering the town of Immokalee on CR846.

Locales visited included Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; areas east of  
Immokalee on CR846; extreme eastern Collier County near the Hendry  
County Correctional Facility (CR858); Tigertail Beach & Mackle Park  
on Marco island; Sugden Regional Park Naples & the North Naples Waste  
Water Treatment Plant in North Naples.

We had a few surprises plus several misses as well as the usual  
expecteds. In the first category, I would have to say that the Black  
Skimmer found in an agricultural  drainage canal at the intersection  
of CR858 & Camp Keais Rd in extreme eastern Collier County was  
definitely unexpected. I know that Black Skimmers are sometimes found  
around inland lakes in central and south Florida, especially in  
winter, but on a drainage canal miles away from the nearest large  
body of water (Lake Okeechobee)?? I estimate that this location is  
25-30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico and probably that many or  
more miles southwest of Lake Okeechobee. This is very strange in my  
book and a first for me. BTW, Art took photos of this bird in this  
habitat so if anyone is interested, let me know. . .

We also had a pair of Solitary Sandpipers at the Immokalee Ranch on  
CR846 east of the town itself. In previous years, the small cow pond  
on the north side of CR846 on this ranch had at least one wintering  
Solitary Sandpiper. I've checked several times last winter and again  
this winter, but up until today, I could never find any of these  
birds. Today, we looked in a small wetland directly across from the  
cow pond on the south side of CR846 and voila -- there they were.  
Nice to see!

Other birds of note seen on today's Century Run in Collier County were:

Painted Bunting (female) -- Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Limpkin -- ditto
Burrowing Owl -- two birds "holding on" near the intersection of 40th  
Street NE & 68th Avenue NE -- east of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.  
Anyone have $110,000 to protect this pair from developers? That's the  
asking price for the one-acre plot of land on which the BUOWs have  
their burrow! Art took a great photo of the developer's or realtor's  
sign with the BUOWs included which will be sent to anyone on request.
One Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, two Western Kingbirds & no Vermilion  
Flycatcher along CR858 near the Hendry County Correctional Facility  
on the Collier/Hendry County line.
Crested Caracara -- ditto
Magnificent Frigatebird -- five individuals near the ABC Islands/Marco.
Red Head -- three birds on lake Avalon at Sugden Regional Park in  
Naples. Also seen was one Black Skimmer on the beach at Lake Avalon.
Subadult Bald Eagle as well as five species of ducks in good numbers  
at the North Naples Waste water Treatment Plant.

A full list of species seen will be sent to anyone requesting it.

BTW, if anyone thinks that it is relatively easy to find 100 species  
of birds in Collier County in daylight hours only, I challenge them  
to go for it!

Good birding and of course, Happy New Year!

Vince Lucas
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