TAS Trip to Ft DeSoto, April 16-18

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Posted by Brian Rapoza on 15:35:11 04/19/10

Four delightful birders (Elane and Ron Neuhring, Sally Clifton and Jen Maycan) joined me for Tropical Audubon s annual spring migration trip to Ft. DeSoto in Pinellas County. We had beautiful weather on Friday and Saturday but rainy conditions on Sunday. We headed to the west coast via Snake Road and CR 846, where we saw several Crested Caracara, Roseate Spoonbills and a Solitary Sandpiper. Our first stop was at Lois and Leon White s house in Alva (Lee County); their feeders were overflowing with Indigo Buntings, plus a few Painted Buntings. It was nice to visit with the Whites themselves; they are usually in Michigan by mid-April. On Parkinson Road, just west of the Whites, we had five Red-headed Woodpeckers. At Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, we easily found two Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, but birding there was otherwise slow. Two Florida Scrub-Jays were seen during a brief visit to Oscar Scherer State Park.

Though migration was slow at Ft DeSoto throughout the weekend, we found plenty of birds to keep our binoculars occupied. A Bad Eagle and Ruddy Ducks were seen at Tiera Verde ponds. We made several visits to the Great Horned Owl chick at the North Beach parking lot, with mother owl in attendance during most visits. We also had brief looks at the Brown-crested Flycatcher that has been present at that location for over a month, plus a female Hooded Warbler, both found with the assistance of Lyn Atherton. A Chipping Sparrow was present there on Sunday. Shorebird highlights at North Beach included up-close looks at Long-billed Curlew, plus a white-morph Reddish Egret, American Oystercatchers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, a large flock of Red Knots and an enormous flock of Common Terns. Pileated Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Worm-eating Warbler were seen at Arrowhead Picnic Area. A male Hooded Warbler was at the famous Mulberry trees near the ranger s residence; also present there were Cedar Waxwings, a Blackpoll Warbler, Northern Waterthrush and an immature male Orchard Oriole. A stunning male Baltimore Oriole was at East Beach woods, as were Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Prothonotary, Black-throated Blue, Cape May, Worm-eating and Black-and-white Warblers and an Ovenbird. A Peregrine Falcon was perched on a power pole along the park road on Saturday near dusk.

On Sunday, we made a brief stop at Roosevelt Wetlands, but heavy rains prevented us from getting very far. On our way back to Miami, we stopped at the Celery Fields in Sarasota and added several new birds to our trip list, including three Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, a Merlin, scattered Limpkins, singing Sedge and Marsh Wrens and several Swamp Sparrows.

Here s the bird list:
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Muscovy Duck
Mottled Duck
Mallard (feral)
Blue-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wood Stork
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara
Peregrine Falcon
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Wilson s Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Forster s Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Northern Parula
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Boat-tailed Grackle
Common Grackle
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow

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