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This morning, 7/6, I stopped by the sod farms west on New Smyrna Beach (Volusia County) to see if any shorebirds were  beginning to move.  The sod fields were completely barren. I was in my last 100 yards on my way out when I found a lone (appropriately enough) Solitary Sandpiper. This appears to be a very early date. "The Birdlife of Florida" lists only two earlier sightings (30 June 1960 and 30 June 1973)  I don't know if there are more early sightings from more recent years after that publication date. It is by far the earliest date for Volusia County.

The date was so early that I tried to make it into a Wood or Green Sandpiper, but it was without a doubt a Solitary. The rump/tail  had no white patch and it had the typical barred outer tail feathers and dark central tail feathers of a Solitary.

On another note, When I was driving out of the entrance to my subdivision this morning, I found 14 Swallow-tailed Kites sitting in two pines trees -- that is a great way to start the day!

Michael

Michael Brothers
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet

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