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I was up chasing migration this weekend in the panhandle, as well as working on my year list.  The list took a big hit when about thirty species of warblers showed up at Ft. DeSoto the weekend I was in Texas, although I prefer Kiskadees and that stuff.  Anyways, I headed north on Friday afternoon with the Florida year list at 309.

Long before sunrise on Saturday I found myself driving around on dirt roads in Jackson County.  My gazetteer showed me near Bump Nose Road, which I had heard of before.  Yellow-breasted Chats were singing well before sunrise.  Acadian Flycatcher was the first year bird of the trip.  As it got lighter, more of the breeding species began to sing.  Hooded, Swainson's, Kentucky (2), Prothonotary, and Yellow-throated (4) Warblers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (5), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2), Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Wood-pewee (year bird), and Wood Thrush (3, year bird) were all heard before 6 AM Central Time.  Later while driving over a bridge on SR 2 I heard a Yellow-throated Vireo.  On my way out to the western part of the panhandle I stopped by Tilly Landing, which gave me more of the same birds I had earlier in the day.  There were good numbers of Prothonotary, as well as 3 or 4 Swainson's and Hooded Warblers.  The ponds in Ft. Walton Beach held 5 Stilt, 25 Least, 8 Semipalmated, and a Spotted Sandpiper as well as my year Mississippi Kite.  In a desperate shot at migrants I visited the Duncan's for the first time and sat in their yard as two American Redstarts, a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, an Indigo Bunting, and Orchard Oriole made for a slow day of migrants. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, the crowds by the beach were fairly thick, and the gulf only about 10 Gannets, a Common Loon and Red-breasted Merganser.  

I planned on being out at St. Marks for sunrise the next day, but decided to sleep in and did not arrive at the refuge until 10.  I began my quest for Baird's Sandpiper at Stony Bayou.  The shorebird numbers were fairly decent.  Birds seen (there were probably other species present that I did not write down):
 Black-necked Stilt- 3
Dunlin- 200 +
Dowitchers- Most looked like Short-billed 25+
Black-bellied Plover
Western Sandpiper- 2
Baird's Sandpiper- 0
White-rumped Sandpiper- 0
Pectoral Sandpiper - 1 (Year bird)
Semipalmated and Least Sandpiper- 100 of each
Semipalmated Plover
Wilson's Plover- 2

Lighthouse Pond held a different variety of shorebirds.  New species included Red Knots, Willet, Lesser Scaup, and my year Wilson's Phalarope.  

On my way out, exhausted and a little disappointed with the slow migration, I made a quick stop at Mounds Pool 1 to look at a small flock of Yellowlegs.  There was a flock of four dark ibis in the area, all White-faced or White-facedish.  A little later they were joined by a few Glossy.   Two of both species were in fairly high breeding plumage.  There was one juvenile of each species, and one bird that I could not tell which species it belonged to.  A quick phonescope picture brought my list of birds photographed with my phone up to 5.  A quick run through Merritt Island on the way home yielded no migrants, but did produce a White-rumped Sandpiper on E. Gator.

I expected some migrants today with the winds, but only three warblers (Palm, Parula, and BT Blue) and a flock of 6 Whimbrels were the only birds of note.  There could be another good fallout this weekend when I leave the state for the World Series.  

Good Birding,
Andy Bankert 
Melbourne Beach, FL


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