Great Egret, displaying
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
Species Seen at Green Cay Nature Center - Between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
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
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Common Gallinule (BB)
Double-crested Cormorants (HR)
Great Blue Herons, courting
Great Blue Herons, nesting
Great Blue Heron and young
Solitary Sandpiper (HR)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (HR)