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All:

Today, December 23rd, after an aborted outing with some visiting  
British birders earlier in the day, I made my way to the North Naples  
Wastewater Treatment Plant on Goodlette-Frank Rd. (between Immokalee  
Rd. to the north & Vanderbilt Beach Rd. to the south) here in North  
Naples, FL. I'm glad I did! In among a flock of a dozen or so Lesser  
Scaup was a female Bufflehead. Buffleheads are rare in SW Florida and  
this one is only the third that I've seen in the county in over 12  
years of birding here. Here is a map to the area:

http://caloosabirdclub.org/CaloosaBirdClubMaps/NorthNaplesWastewater.jpg

If you go to see this bird, please park well off the road near the  
dead Slash Pine on the north side of the bridge on Goodlette-Frank  
Rd. Afterward, with your scope (necessity), walk back up the bridge  
to its highest point. There you can scope out the two large  
impoundments quite well.

Also seen in the 45 minutes or so I was there this afternoon, were:

Pied-billed Grebe  x3
Brown Pelican   x2
Double-crested Cormorant   x10
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Northern Shoveler  x3
Lesser Scaup  x12
Ring-necked Duck  >20
Hooded Merganser  x25
Loggerhead Shrike
Turkey Vulture
Tree Swallows  >500 at the treatment impoundments with thousands more  
flying north along Goodlette-Frank Rd.
Osprey x1 with fish

Another nice sighting (I guess) was a Bobcat walking along the dike  
next to the large impoundment. It was obviously injured and was  
somewhat underweight. I recall reading in the Naples Daily News about  
either a Florida panther or a bobcat being struck by a vehicle near  
the intersection of Vanderbilt Beach Rd. & Goodlette-Frank Rd. at  
nearby Pelican Marsh several weeks ago. FFWC did a search of the area  
to determine if it was in fact a Florida panther. My sighting today  
confirms that it was a bobcat and not a Florida panther. 2009 has  
been the worst year ever I believe for Florida panther fatalities due  
to run-ins with vehicles and at least one shooting fatality. It is so  
bad that several environmental groups are suing the U.S. Fish &  
Wildlife Commission over loss of Florida panther habitat due to  
development and for other reasons.

On the way back home, while stopped at the traffic light at  
Vanderbilt Beach Rd. & Airport-Pulling Rd., I saw one of the Red- 
tailed hawks that frequent the power-cut along Airport-Pulling Rd.

Not bad for 45 minutes of local birding here in Collier County!

Cheers.

Vincent Lucas
Naples, FL
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