St. Lucie Audubon Society

A Pie-billed Grebe peeks out from the weeds.

FEB. 7, 2015, SLAS FIELD TRIP REPORT

GREEN CAY NATURE CENTER AND WAKODAHATCHEE WETLANDS

The group gathered together at the memorial plaque for Pris Mally, a dedicated St Lucie Audubon member, and avid field trip participant, whose favorite place was this spot on the Green Cay entrance boardwalk. The “group” was composed of 20 participants, plus a nice lady who just attached herself to our trip, but remains unidentified.

The gathering place is right by the bird feeders where we were able to study Mourning and White-winged Doves side by side, as well as Painted Buntings, and later, at the same location, several late arrivers were treated to excellent views of an Ovenbird. The late arrivers also saw the American Bittern in a quick fly-by. Maybe something to be said for arriving late?

The highlight of the trip for many was the observation of both Purple Gallinule (left) and Purple Swamphen (right) in close proximity, so that the differences between these two similar species became quite apparent. For others, the highlight was seeing a pair of Anhingas billing and cooing, which inevitably leads to Anhinga babies. Others got a particular kick out of a friendly (?) Iguana posing so closely on the top railing of the boardwalk that head shot photos seemed most appropriate.

Two species that are sometimes hard to find, Sora (right) and Black-crowned Night Heron, presented the group with their usual challenge, and a sitting Northern Harrier was spotted because it was seen while landing. The most numerous duck seen was the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, which is unusual considering only a few years ago they were rare and hard to find. The large number of Woodstorks jostling for nesting sites on the small islands was a spectacular sight, and the Neo-tropic Cormorant that seems to have found a home at Wakodahatchee was present among a large number of nesting Double-crested Cormorants for the group to study up close and personal through the telescope.

The day was beautiful and comfortable, and the participants all enjoyed themselves and the pleasant company while sharing a total of 58 species combined at Green Cay and Wakodahatchee, as well as on the road down from St Lucie County. The trip ended with 13 of the participants enjoying a late lunch together at Sweet Tomatoes, which has become an additional high light of this annual trip. Hart and Jewel Rufe were the leaders

Report by Hart Rufe

Photos by Hart Rufe, Fran Gallogly and Arlene Brooks

(click for larger versions)

Anhingas

Anhingas (Arlene Brooks)

Anhingas (Fran Gallogy)

58 Species

Ducks, Geese, and Swans: Blue-winged Teal; Black-bellied Whistling Duck; Mottled Duck, Northern Shoveler
Grebes: Pied-billed Grebe
Storks: Wood Stork
Cormorants: Double-crested Cormorant; Neo-tropic Cormorant (now a regular at Wakodahatchee)
Herons, Bitterns and Allies:  Great Egret;  Great Blue Heron; Tricolored Heron;  Snowy Egret; Little Blue Heron; Cattle Egret; Green Heron; Black-crowned night-heron; American Bittern
Ibises and Spoonbills: Roseate Spoonbill; Glossy Ibis; White Ibis
Darters: Anhinga
Cranes: Sandhill Crane (on route)
New World Vultures: Black Vulture; Turkey Vulture
Osprey: Osprey
Hawks, Kites, Eagles and Allies: Northern Harrier; Red-shouldered Hawk
Falcons: American Kestrel
Rails, Gallinules and Coots: Purple Gallinule; Common Gallinule; American Coot; Purple Swamphen;  Sora
Limpkins: Limpkin

American Bittern

Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies: Spotted Sandpiper
Gulls: Ring-billed Gull
Pigeons & Doves:  White-winged Dove; Mourning Dove; and Eurasian Collared Dove and Rock Pigeon (on route)
Kingfishers: Belted Kingfisher
Martins & Swallows: Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin; Tree Swallow
Jays and Crows: Blue Jay
Cardinals & Allies: Painted Bunting; Northern Cardinal
Mimids: Northern Mockingbird
Starlings: European Starling
Blackbirds: Common Grackle; Boat-tailed Grackle; Red-winged Blackbird
Wood-Warblers: Ovenbird; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat;
Gnatcatchers: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Old world Sparrows: House sparrow (on route)

Reptiles:
American Alligator; Iguana

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Blue-winged Teal

Green Heron (Fran Gallogy)

Northern Harrier

White-winged Dove

Iguana (Fran Gallogy)