Although visiting Alachua County birders Mary Landsman and Ellen Chen  
brought some nastily cold weather with them from "Up North", they  
apparently also brought some good luck with them as well. I say that  
because I have never seen three Short-tailed Hawks in Collier County  
in one day. However, this morning that is exactly what occurred.  
First, we saw a pair about one mile west of S.R. 29 on Oil Well Rd.  
(aka CR 858) and it was a pair containing one light morph and one  
dark morph! I've never seen a "mixed" pair before anywhere in  
Florida, although I have seen both light and dark morphs in the same  
day -- but separately. Next, we saw another dark morph STHA mixed in  
with a group of Black Vultures about another mile west on Oil Well  
Rd., west of where we had seen the first pair. All three of these  
birds seemed to "hover" right above us as they ascended on thermals.  
Way cool. We were delighted. The morning started out from my house in  
Naples at 8:30AM so that the birds could have a chance to "warm up".  
Our plan was to visit my friend's feeders in Immokalee for Painted &  
Indigo Buntings, White-winged Dove, Chipping Sparrow and whatever  
else was around. Before we reached Immokalee though, we found a  
banded Crested Caracara. (See my other post about this specific  
bird.) We had plenty of the buntings, sparrows and doves at my  
friend's feeders. Obviously, these birds were HUNGRY from spending  
the night in the cold. I counted about 6-7 Painted Buntings (at least  
three males), a dozen or more Indigo Buntings, two White-winged Doves  
and 15 or so Chipping Sparrows present at the feeders. We only spent  
about 45 minutes watching the feeders before we moved on. Needless to  
say,  the ladies were very happy to see all of these birds so  
"easily". In a farm pond east of Immokalee, there were quite a few  
Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs affording a nice side-by-side  
comparison. On CR 858 on the Collier/Hendry County line, we could not  
locate any Western Kingbirds nor Scissor-tailed Flycatchers probably  
because it was so windy and "cool". However, when we made the turn  
west on Oil Well Rd. by the Hendry County Correctional Facility, we  
did see two Western Kingbirds about 1/2 mile west after the right  
turn in the road. I saw two more WEKIs about 1/4 mile further west as  
well. A mile or so from Sunniland on Oil Well Rd., we stopped in the  
weedy field on the south side of the road to try for Grasshopper  
Sparrows. Although at least three were inquisitive when they heard  
their song via my iPod, none would show themselves well. The new town  
of Ave Maria didn't afford any new birds for the morning's list, but  
the ladies got to see this town and the "nouveau" Gothic-style  
oratory and college campus that seemingly "sprung-up" from the  
surrounding agricultural fields by the hands of billionaire Domino's  
Pizza King Tom Monaghan. Other nice birds this morning were Northern  
Harrier, Black-crowned Night-Heron and several of our pale Red- 
shouldered Hawks. Both Mary and Ellen visited Corkscrew Swamp  
Sanctuary after we went our separate ways so they may have other  
birds to report.

Good birding.


Vincent Lucas
Naples, FL
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