TAS Van Trip to Florida's Panhandle

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Posted by Brian Rapoza on 21:08:38 01/18/11

Ten birders joined Paul Bithorn and me for Tropical Audubon Society s annual four-day van trip to Florida s panhandle. Stops on our way north included Ranch Road in Astatula and the La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Gainesville. The latter stop provided up-close looks at an American Bison! On Saturday, we birded on Apalachee Savannah Scenic Byway and at Wright Lake in Apalachicola National Forest, at Apalachicola Airport and in Florida Caverns State Park. We spent most of Sunday at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, with a brief visit beforehand at the Southwood development in southeastern Tallahassee. At day s end we visited Alligator Point and Bottom s Road, both near Panacea.

We enjoyed spectacular weather during these first three days; though we started each morning with sub-freezing temperatures, it warmed to the 50 s by mid-day. Our luck ran out on Monday, which began rainy and stayed that way for most of the day. During stops at Elinor-Phipps Park, Maclay Gardens State Park and Myers Park in Tallahassee, along with a visit to Andy Wraithmells feeder-filled front yard, we pressed on in spite of the weather and managed to find a few new birds to add to our impressive trip list:

Ross s Goose-two at Southwood in Tallahassee, three at Stony Bayou 1, St. Marks
Canada Goose-many at Southwood
Muscovy Duck
Wood Duck-at the bridges past the St Marks visitor center
American Wigeon-abundant at Picnic Pond, St. Marks
Mallard-many at Mounds Pool 3, St Marks. Heat shimmer prevented us from identifying any American Black Ducks that may have been among the Mallards.
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail-La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie, Stony Bayou 2, St Marks
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback-Lighthouse Pool, St Marks
Redhead-Mounds Pools, St Marks
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup-Lighthouse Pool, St Marks (side-by-side with Lesser Scaup, allowing for excellent comparison)
Lesser Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey-en route
Red-throated Loon-four at Alligator Point
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe-St Marks lighthouse, Alligator Point
Northern Gannet-Alligator Point
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern-abundant at La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara-en route
American Kestrel
Clapper Rail-several on Bottoms Road
Virginia Rail-several on Bottoms Road, excellent almost side-by-side comparison with Clapper
Sora-Stony Bayou 1, St Marks
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Limpkin-en route
Sandhill Crane
Whooping Crane-five at La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Oystercatcher-US 98, east of Apalachicola
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson s Snipe
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Forster s Tern
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Great Horned Owl-Myers Park
Barred Owl-heard at La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie, fly-by in Apalachicola National Forest, perched on a fence in Maclay Gardens
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker-several at Myers Park
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Say s Phoebe-Ranch Road in Astatula
Western Kingbird-University of Florida Beef Teaching Unit in Gainesville
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay-Ranch Road in Astatula
American Crow
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch-Myers Park
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren-two at the canoe launch at Florida Caverns, another at the bridges past the St Marks Visitor Center
Sedge Wren-Apalachee Savannah Scenic Byway, Apalachicola National Forest
Marsh Wren-La Chua, Paynes Prairie
Golden-crowned Kinglet-several locations
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit-Apalachicola Airport and Southwood in Tallahassee
Sprague s Pipit-one at Apalachicola Airport
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Summer Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Bachman s Sparrow-one at Apalachee Savannah Scenic Byway, Apalachicola National Forest
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow-several at La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie
Lark Sparrow-one at Alligator Point
Savannah Sparrow
Henslow s Sparrow-many at Apalachee Savannah Scenic Byway, Apalachicola National Forest, found with the assistance of special guest birders Alex Harper, Alicia Gerrety, Gary Davis and John Murphy
Seaside Sparrow-Bottoms Road, Panacea
Song Sparrow-St Marks
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow-La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie, Maclay Gardens
White-crowned Sparrow-several at La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie
Dark-eyed Junco-several at Maclay Gardens
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty BlackbirdSt Marks, Maclay Gardens
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch-Maclay Gardens
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

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