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An early (9:15) start for me this morning got me up to Merritt Island NWR to see the beautiful breeding plumage Red-necked Phalarope on south easternmost pond on Bio Lab Road.  Before studying the phalarope, I noticed two poor Semipalmated Sandpipers that had some sort of deformity in the facial region.  This is at least the third species I have seen this year that has a structural error.  Fun stuff.  For over an hour the Phalarope swam around the pond catching bugs like it would on its breeding grounds.  After the phalarope was photographed and sketched sufficiently I went off to Dixie Crossroads since I got word there were very few shorebirds on the refuge.  

I hit Viera on my way home, and found a good concentration of shorebirds.  8 Greater Yellowlegs, 12 Lessers, 25 Stilts, 48 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 2 Short-billed Dowitcher, 2 Stilt Sandpipers, and a handful of Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were present in both of the Click Ponds.  One the way down from the Rockledge exit there was a pair of Ring-necked Ducks at a Golf Course.  

Having gone the whole day without seeing a storm-petrel, I figured I could make the fifteen minute trip to the inlet before heading home.  When I got out there, I could see two people on the south jetty.  The one I hadn't been on all week, but when I scoped over there an Arctic Tern was flying over their heads.  I assume they also had excellent looks at a Brown Noddy that several tried to turn into Florida's first Swinhoe's Storm-petrel.  The Noddy really liked the south side but headed up to Brevard for a brief time before retreating to Indian River County.  One Wilson's Storm-petrel was seen off the north jetty doing a kangaroo-like hop rather than walking on the water.  Later in the day I went back down to meet up with a few people on the south jetty where we saw at least 1 Common, 2 Arctics, and two birds that looked like Arctics.  The Noddy also gave us really close views before flying north to the better county.  Late in the evening two Arctics came close to the jetty before heading south.

Pictures from this week can be seen at: http://surfbirds.com/blog/brevardbirder/
It would probably be worthless reading most of the entries since they are just copies of posts to the lists.  

Good Birding,
Andy Bankert 

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