This morning I thought I'd once again head on down to the Big Cypress  
Bend Boardwalk in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve to see if any  
migrants had come in. It's been a pretty pitiful spring migration so  
far here in Collier County. For my Collier County Big Year (CCBY), I  
still don't have either Red-eyed, Yellow-throated or Black-whiskered  
Vireo plus I'm missing many warblers as well as most thrushes, etc.  
Anyway, the only warblers I could find on the boardwalk were Northern  
Parula and Black-and-white Warbler. All of the resident birds were  
there including scads of Great Crested Flycatchers and Gray Catbirds,  
but nothing else out of the ordinary. A close encounter with a Barred  
Owl was nice plus there is one juvie Bald Eagle still hanging around  
the nest. The deer flies were really bad BTW. From there, I decided to  
drive to Rookery Bay down Shell Island Rd. to its end, past the former  
Brigg's Nature Center, now  an office for the enforcement branch of  
the FWC. Along Shell Island Rd. I saw and heard Eastern Towhee as well  
as Common Ground Dove (highlights). When I got to the boat ramp at  
Henderson Creek/Rookery Bay, I decided to walk the Catclaw Trail  
through a mixed mangrove habitat. About 200 yards down the trail, I  
played my iPod for Mangrove Cuckoo on a whim. Within a minute, I had a  
distant response from a Mangrove Cuckoo and within 30 seconds, it was  
perched 20 feet in front of me, singing away. Unfortunately, I had the  
wrong lens on my camera so no pictures. Mangrove Cuckoo is #187 for my  
CCBY. Other birds seen in the area of the boat ramp included Northern  
Waterthrush and Spotted Sandpiper (in full breeding plumage). Next, I  
ventured down Collier Blvd. to Marco Island to see if I could find a  
Gray Kingbird for my CCBY. I did find one perched in a heavily fruited  
Ficus in a small shopping mall at 651 Collier Blvd. CCBY #188. My last  
stop was near the Judge Jolly Bridge where I spent a minute or two  
glassing the ABC Islands. There were two Magnificent Frigatebirds  
flying around as well as the usual nesting Great Egrets, Great Blue  
Herons, Ospreys, etc. Even though there were only a few returning  
migrants about, it was a good morning birding here in Collier County!



Vincent P. Lucas
Naples, FL
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