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With a mind-boggling 100+ individuals from as far away as Vancouver &  
Toronto, Canada and Ohio, we saw some great birds -- 82 species in  
all -- on Saturday's STA-5 tour. Not everyone saw all of the birds  
naturally. Some folks left early or had other commitments. That's  
fine of course. Before I report the list of species seen on the tour,  
I must tell you of a phenomenal non-birding sighting that Alan Murray  
and I as well as visiting Gainesville birders Mary Landsman and Ellen  
Chen saw on the way out to STA-5 from my house in Naples. About 2.5  
miles or so from where CR833 takes the turn south to the Big Cypress  
Seminole Indian Reservation there is a beautiful ranchland area that  
stretches for at least 1.5 miles, maybe two on the south and north  
sides of CR833. I do not know who owns this ranch but it is  
impressive. We regularly see Sandhill Cranes, Eastern Meadowlarks,  
Crested Caracara and sometimes Burrowing Owls on this property. In  
the wet season, there are often Roseate Spoonbills, American White  
Pelicans, Limpkins and sometimes Snail Kites and other nice birds  
there as well. On Saturday,  the excitement wasn't of the avian kind  
but rather the canine kind. Out in the ranchland we spied two coyotes  
watching (actually "hunting" for lack of a better term) a cow which  
had just given birth to a calf. The cow could not raise herself but  
she sheltered the calf from the two coyotes who were undoubtedly  
attracted to the scent of the placental afterbirth. We watched this  
scenario for about 15 minutes. Finally, the coyotes moved on. One had  
something in its mouth and we couldn't make out what it was. Possibly  
it was a Burrowing Owl or maybe even another bird. At any rate,  
seeing a coyote in SW Florida isn't common, although their numbers  
are increasing. Seeing the scenario I just described is extremely  
rare anywhere outside of maybe Colorado or Wyoming! Lol. The only  
other "good" sighting we had on the way to STA-5 was a Great White  
Heron in the "usual" spot on CR833 a half-mile or so north of the  
junction of CR835 on the west side of the road. There were still a  
few Snail Kites and Limpkins along the canal that borders the almost  
completely dried-up Farm 8 Wetlands on CR835.

With regard to STA-5, we had some big misses like either whistling- 
duck. I can't remember the last time that this has occurred at STA-5.  
We also were unable to get to the area where the Tyrant flycatchers  
including the Cassin's was due to some work the SFWMD was doing on  
the levee back there. perhaps they will be through with this work by  
the next tour in two weeks.

Without further delay, here is Saturday's tour results. Birdsin CAPS  
are either uncommon at STA-5 or anywhere south of Lake Okeechobee. . . .

GADWALL  x2
EURASIAN WIGEON   x1  (Thanks to Jean Iron and Ron Pittaway!)
American Wigeon
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
CANVASBACK   x1 (female)
Ring-necked Duck
HOODED MERGANSER  x1 (female)
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican   >400
Double-crested Cormorant
Anhinga
American Bittern  x1
Great Blue Heron
GREAT WHITE HERON   x3
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
Osprey
Snail Kite   >5
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara
American Kestrel
MERLIN   x1
Peregrine Falcon   x2
Sora   x2
Purple Swamphen  >10
Purple Gallinule    >8
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Limpkin
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt    >30
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
DUNLIN    >3
STILT SANDPIPER   >6
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
Caspian Tern
Black Skimmer    >75
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Palm Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Painted Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Boat-tailed Grackle

On the drive back to Naples, we were only able to find one Western  
Kingbird along CR835 and no Scissor-tailed Flycatchers for our  
Canadian friends. Margaret England saw one STFL closer toward  
Blumberg Road but we were unable to relocate it. Perhaps the paucity  
of Tyrant Flycatchers had to do with the lack of insects due to the  
really cold weather (for south Florida) that we have been  
experiencing of late, who knows? Our last stop was to take Jean and  
Ron to my friend's house in Immokalee to see the Painted & Indigo  
Buntings, Chipping Sparrows , White-winged Doves, etc. All made an  
appearance for them and they were undoubtedly delighted.

Cheers.

Vince

Vincent Lucas
Naples, FL
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/leppyone/
http://www.caloosabirdclub.org





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