It was another amazing day at Stormwater Treatment Area #5 (STA-5)  
south of Clewistion in Hendry County yesterday, 12/13/2008. There  
were 44 participants on the tour from as far away as Seattle, WA &  
Scranton, PA. Also included was a group of photographers doing their  
"thing" and a group from Broward County Audubon. We saw a total of 80  
species/subspecies on yesterday's tour including some uncommon  
species for South Florida. The good news is that the wintering ducks  
have returned! The bad news (from a birding perspective) is that duck  
hunting season is about to commence. SFWMD has even built a so-called  
"duck blind" (actually more like a pier that juts out into one of the  
cell/impoundments) for mobility-impaired hunters so that they can  
"enjoy" shooting their prey. Read about it here: 

I wish SFWMD would build a high observation platform for birders at  
STA-5 so that we could better "enjoy" our recreational pursuit. The  
chances of that happening are about nil I would think.

Before I list the great birds we saw yesterday at STA-5, including  
several rarities(!), I want to relate that Alan Murray and I found a  
banded Roseate Spoonbill (yellow band with no alphanumeric code) over  
a metal band on the ROSP's left leg. I have already reported this  
sighting to The bird was found in the wetlands on  
the west side of CR833 aka Government Rd., just north of its  
intersection with CR835. We saw the bird in the morning on the drive  
out to STA-5 from Naples. A few other notable birds seen on the drive- 
out were two Scissor-tailed Flycatchers on the wires above the Ocean  
Boy Shrimp Farm property on CR835 and four or so Snail Kites with as  
many Limpkins at the Farm 8 Wetlands just north of Ocean Boy. Those  
numbers are way down from our normal previous totals for these  
species due to the natural and man-induced "dry-down" of the  
wetlands. Also present were a pair of Painted Buntings along the  
canal at Ocean Boy. The drive back to Naples was uneventful although,  
thanks to a "heads-up" from my friend Kermit "Spike" Updegrove of  
Naples, Alan and I were able to make a brief stop at the North Naples  
Waste Water Treatment Facility (aka Sewage Plant) on Goodlette-Frank  
Rd. between Vanderbilt Rd. & Immokalee Rd. to see the nice male  
Redhead (duck) that Spike found earlier in the day. Redhead is an  
uncommon duck in Collier County. Also present were two dozen or so  
Lesser Scaup. There may be a Greater Scaup in there as well but we  
didn't have enough daylight left to study the ducks too closely and  
from such a long distance. Also present at the sewage plant were two  
dozen or so Hooded Mergansers, 6-8 Ring-necked Ducks, some Mottled  
Ducks and a few other waders, etc. With the Redhead & Lesser Scaup,  
Alan and I saw a total of 17 species of ducks in South Florida on  
12/13/2008. Not too shabby! Here's the complete list of the birds  
seen at on the December 13, 2008 STA-5 tour. Rare/uncommon species  
for our area and especially inland Florida areas such as STA-5 are  
highlighted in CAPS:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck     30
Fulvous Whistling-Duck    15
Wood Duck     1
EURASIAN WIGEON     2 or possibly 3
American Wigeon
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican     50+
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill     100+
Wood Stork
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara     2
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Sora     1
Purple Swamphen     6-8
Purple Gallinule     1
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Limpkin    2
Sandhill Crane   2
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher     600+
Wilson's Snipe
Caspian Tern    2
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Eastern Phoebe
Western Kingbird    2
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD  (same bird that has been seen in the last few  
months at STA-5)
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher   1
Loggerhead Shrike
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow     1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Palm Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Savannah Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Boat-tailed Grackle

Cheers and good birding!


Vincent Lucas
Naples, FL
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