Amelia Island, Amelia River, Nassau Sound: A busy morning starting at the Bailey Rd. Soccer Fields with three Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the north end of the field nearest the gate. Two of the "Buffies" put on a brief open wing display, apparently contesting a choice foraging area. Other then Killdeer, still no additional shorebird species. 

Bird Islands Nassau Sound, upon arrival the mid shoals were devoid of larids and shorebirds, so we knew something was up. Traveling south in the sound, we saw shorebirds "balled" in the distance and responding to an unseen raptor. Sometime later, an adult peregrine appeared aloft making hard stoops at a hapless Black tern. For the next hour we had front row seats to a spectacular drama between this superb predator and multiple prey species in the lower sound. The peregrine alternated between high soars and periodic stoops at shorebird flocks and mixed species of larids massed along the shore. Surprisingly, the adult failed on multiple stoops with the, smaller, more nimble quarry always dodging away at the critical instant of contact. Ultimately, the falcon soared very high aloft, and after drifting out over the inlet, dropped into a spectacular, penultimate, stoop that accelerated all the way to the water until the falcon leveled off and hurtled across the waves toward its distant prey. She obviously knocked her quarry into the water, for she pitched up, rolled over and sailed down to the surface to retrieve her meal.  

Also sighted in the sound was a small group of Am. Oystercatchers including a juvenile banded in New Jersey, 300 Red Knot including 
24 NA bands seen repeatedly this season. In contrast to our prior survey, Common Terns nos. appeared down with Black Terns increasing, but the peregrine's activities disrupted all roosting flocks. 

South Amelia River: On oyster rakes along the river we found 54 Am. Oystercatchers including three banded sub-adults first sighted here last fall / winter. On the same rakes, we found an adult eagle, 116 Willet, 2 Marbled Godwit, 96 Black-belly plover, ca 200 Short-billed Dowitcher, 1 Whimbrel and multiple Semipalmated plover, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone and 6 Gull-billed tern.

Finally, on our return to the ramp, we sighted 2 Am. Avocets roosting on a high marsh wash flat within sight of the boat ramp. 

Doris and Patrick Leary, Fernandina Beach
(images of the perched peregrine available off-list)

FLORIDABIRDS-L Listserv mailing list information:
Member  photos  I:
Member  photos II:  see connection on photos I
For archives:
Set nomail: [log in to unmask] Message: Set floridabirds-L nomail
Listowner:  [log in to unmask]