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Yesterday I participated inthe Zellwood/Mt. Dora Christmas Bird Count.  I
was in the area around Lake Apopka--particularly to the north and east of
it.  We began the morning with a couple Barn Owls, and as morning broke, we
also had Osprey, Bald Eagles, dozens of Northern Harrier and Red-tailed
Hawks, many Red-shouldered Hawks, one Sharp-shinned Hawk, several American
Kestrels, and one Merlin.  As the sun was setting, we found a couple more
Barn Owls and a Short-eared Owl.  But the biggest highlight was probably a
Krider's Red-tailed Hawk.

We also had 18 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and several Gadwall, Mallards,
Mottled Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, and Northern
Shoveler. We had all the normal herons and egrets, but I couldn't believe
the number of Black-crowned Night Herons we'd seen. In one area (behind the
pumphouse by the shore of Lake Apopka), we counted 15 in flight all in one
place.

I posted photos from yesterday at
http://www.learnoutdoorphotography.com/2012/12/lake-apopka-12212012.html

Happy birding,

Scott Simmons
Winter Park, FL

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