St. Lucie Audubon Society

Great Egret, displaying

GREEN CAY/WAKODAHATCHEE

MARCH 5, 2016, SLAS FIELD TRIP REPORT

Twenty-three participants, plus several other birders who happened to be on the boardwalk as we came by, joined us at Wakodahatchee and Green Cay for an excellent day of birding. The weather and the birds both cooperated, and a total of 64 species was sighted between the two water reclamation areas, and en route, both coming, going, and on the way to Sweet Tomatoes.

The highlight of the trip for all was undoubtedly the pair of gray phase Screech Owls that was spotted hiding up under the fronds of a palm tree, not far off the boardwalk. These birds, coming near the end of the trip, afforded close study and photographic opportunities for all.

Other highlights included numerous gray-headed phase Purple Swamphens (left, FG), one pair engaging in copulation, a great many nesting pairs of Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, Woodstorks, Cattle Egrets, and Double-crested Cormorants, in all stages of nesting progress, from nest building, to egg incubating, to tiny little baby birds, to almost full grown fledglings. The amount of nesting activity, on the small islands only a few feet from the boardwalk was breathtaking.

Another first sighting for this annual St Lucie Audubon trip was an accommodating Solitary Sandpiper working the edge of the marsh at Wakodahatchee. At Green Cay the group was treated to up close and personal views of both American Bittern and Least Bittern. At both locations Purple Gallinules were quite easy to find. However, our one and only Roseate Spoonbill was posing on a snag at Green Cay, and our one and only Black-necked Stilt was seen by only a few early arriving participants, when it was spotted on the edge of the reservoir outside Wakodahatchee and unfortunately flew off before most had arrived. Also, the early gathering group was treated to a fly over by a group of six Monk Parakeets, calling while flying.

In the woods at Green Cay one female Painted Bunting was at the feeders, a couple of Black and White Warblers and a Northern Parula were spotted by sharp-eyed participants; and a White-winged Dove flew in to feed in the open after the group had worked extremely hard to find an earlier White-winged Dove calling from a hidden perch in a tree. Most of the wintering ducks had already departed, leaving only a handful of Blue-winged Teal and the resident Mottled Ducks (right), now pairing up, and a large number of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flying around the wetlands all day.

For many, the absolute highlight of the trip was the all you can eat buffet at Sweet Tomatoes where all but one participant on the trip gathered to eat, socialize, and share experiences from the day of birding. The trip was led by Hart and Jewel Rufe.

Report and bird list submitted by Hart Rufe

Photos by Linda Sullivan, Bob Blacka (BB), Fran Gallogy (FG) and Hart Rufe (HR)


Green Cay, Wakodahatchee, en route/ Total Species Seen or Heard: 64

Species Seen at Wakodahatchee - Between 8:00 am - 10:30 am 

  • Waterfowl: Black-Bellied Whistling Duck; Mottled Duck*; Blue-winged Teal*
  • Loons & Grebes: Pied-billed Grebe*
  • Storks: Wood Stork*
  • Pelicaniformes:  Double-crested Cormorant*; Anhinga*
  • Wading Birds:   Great Blue Heron*; Great Egret*; Snowy Egret*; Little-Blue Heron*; Tricolored Heron*; Cattle Egret*; Green Heron*; White Ibis*; Glossy Ibis*; Black-crowned Night Heron 
  • Raptors & Allies: Red-shouldered Hawk*; Black Vulture; Turkey Vulture; Osprey
  • Rails & Gallinules: Sora*; Common Gallinule*; American Coot*; Purple Gallinule*; Purple Swamphen*
  • Shorebirds: Black-necked Stilt; Solitary Sandpiper
  • Pigeons & Doves:  White-winged Dove*
  • Psittacines: Monk Parakeet
  • Empidonax:  Eastern Phoebe*
  • Corvidae:  Blue Jay*; Fish Crow*
  • Gnatcatchers: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher*
  • Mimids: Gray Catbird*
  • Wood Warblers: Common Yellowthroat*; Yellow-rumped Warbler*; Palm Warbler*
  • Cardinals & Allies: Northern Cardinal*
  • Blackbirds: Red-winged Blackbird*; Common Grackle*; Boat-tailed Grackle*

Species Seen at Green Cay Nature Center - Between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm

  • Waterfowl: Mottled Duck*; Blue-winged Teal*
  • Loons & Grebes: Pied-billed Grebe*
  • Storks: Wood Stork*
  • Pelicaniformes: Anhinga*; Double-crested Cormorant*
  • Wading Birds:   Great Blue Heron*; Great Egret*; Snowy Egret*; Little-Blue Heron*; Tricolored Heron*; Cattle Egret*; Green Heron*; White Ibis*; Glossy Ibis*; Least Bittern; American Bittern; Roseate Spoonbill
  • Raptors & Allies: Red-shouldered Hawk*
  • Rails & Gallinules: Sora*; Common Gallinule*; American Coot*; Purple Gallinule*; Purple Swamphen
  • Limpkins & Cranes: Limpkin
  • Pigeons & Doves:  White-winged Dove*; Rock Pigeon
  • Owls: Eastern Screech Owl
  • Woodpeckers: Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Empidonax:  Eastern Phoebe*
  • Corvidae:  Blue Jay*; Fish Crow*
  • Martins & Swallows: Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Purple Martin; Tree Swallow
  • Gnatcatchers: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher*
  • Mimids: Gray Catbird*; Northern Mockingbird;
  • Wood Warblers: Yellow-rumped Warbler*; Palm Warbler*; Common Yellowthroat*; Black-and-white Warbler; Northern Parula
  • Cardinals & Allies: Northern Cardinal*; Painted Bunting
  • Blackbirds: Red-winged Blackbird*; Common Grackle*; Boat-tailed Grackle*

The following species were seen En-route:

American Kestrel; European Starling; Great Horned Owl; Mourning Dove; Eurasian Collared Dove; Swallow-Tailed Kite; Sandhill Crane; House Sparrow

 

* Seen at Both Places

Click for larger versions

Common Gallinule (BB)

Common Yellowthroat

Double-crested Cormorants (HR)

Great Blue Herons, courting

Great Blue Herons, nesting

Great Blue Heron and young

Tri-colored Heron

Woodstorks (BB)

Green Heron

Palm Warbler

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Solitary Sandpiper (HR)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (HR)

Banded Watersnake

Marsh Rabbit