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 Florida Birders -

A small group of us from the St. Louis, MO area will be birding Central and
South Florida from March 17-27.  Our target birds include the Red-cockaded
Woodpecker, Bachman's Sparrow, and Florida Scrub-Jay (among a number of
others).  Two of the main areas we've identified to see these birds are
Ocala National Forest and Three Lake WMA.  In reading the thread below it
seems that Three Lakes WMA, one of our main area to look, may not be
available (especially for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker).

Can anyone suggest specifically where in Ocala to find these species, as
well as other good locations to find them?

Thanks for your help,

...Dave Faintich
Olivette, MO

-----Original Message-----
From: Florida Birds [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Rex
Rowan
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2007 10:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [FLBIRDS] Osceola County, Mar. 4

The Alachua Audubon Society tallied 86 species in Osceola County and had a
great day despite a few frustrations.

We started at Lakefront Park on the south shore of East Lake Toho in St. 
Cloud. We saw two Sandhill Cranes on the nest as well as a Limpkin and at
least one White-winged Dove, but it wasn't until we went to Chisholm Park,
on the lake's east shore off Narcoossee Road, that we found a Snail Kite: we
had superb views of an adult male that spent ten or fifteen minutes hunting
over a stretch of lakeshore, seldom more than a couple hundred feet away at
any time.

Afterward we went south to Joe Overstreet Road, along which we had a distant
view of a pair of Crested Caracaras and a much closer look at a trio of
adult Whooping Cranes. At the landing we saw one or two more Snail Kites and
a couple more Limpkins. Among the gulls and terns we were surprised to see
four Herring Gulls, including two beautiful adults, and a flock of Black
Skimmers.

We continued to Three Lakes WMA, where we experienced the day's only real
frustrations. According to Pranty (p. 153), the property's largest
concentration of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers can be found along Williams Road -
which we found locked shut. We cursed our luck and proceeded into the WMA,
intending to drive the road leading through the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
area - which was also locked shut. Can anyone tell me why these two areas of
great interest to birders are closed to public access?

We went on to the Lake Jackson observation tower, where we saw at least one
more Snail Kite and a nice selection of waterfowl: a pair of Mallards, some
Mottled Ducks, a few Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, and several dozen
American Wigeons.

The highlight of the trip came at the end of the day, as we were on our way
back to St. Cloud. Along Canoe Creek Road not far north of the Three Lakes
campground, we passed a raptor perched atop a snag. We couldn't quite place
the silhouette, so we turned around and went back, and were treated to ten
minutes of wonderful aerial display by a White-tailed Kite - it repeatedly
hovered with (as Bob Carroll described it) rippling wings, and twice dropped
slowly into the palmettos with both wings extended high over its head, a
strange-looking maneuver something like the "parachute dive" of a
Short-tailed Hawk.

Rex Rowan
Gainesville

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