St. Lucie Audubon members check out the new constructed area at Platt's Creek.
We had a wonderful day with clear blue skies. It was a little nippy in the morning, but refreshing. We had a total of 12 eager participants, and we were among the first outsiders seeing this newly constructed area in White City.
Eva Ries led the group as we gently walked along the path not to disturb the young plants. The first surprise was a small flock of Chimney Swifts, which look like cigars with wings.
The next surprise was a pair of Wood Ducks (fem, right, RL), the beautiful male sitting proudly on a tree limb and the female nearby.
Hart’s most recent “Hart Beat” article was about Snail Kites and Limpkins and we got to see first-hand the large number of Apple Snails they love to feast on with evidence of a recent smorgasbord. We saw both snail shells (left, HR) and egg masses (right, HR) of the Island Apple snail and the Channeled Apple snail. Some of these species reproduce quickly and cause havoc with our native Florida species.
More surprises were the sighting of Cooper ’s hawk and an Immature Bald Eagle. There were a few sandpiper species visiting the area, such as Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and a Greater Yellow Legs.
Eva and Diane pointed out the various native and exotic plant species. To name a few: Swamp Milkweed, Duck Potato, Swamp Lily. Among the non-natives: Showy Crotalaria, Moonflower and Caesar Weed.
We learned about the brackish water system, and Eva showed a little pool of water and how the system works together with snails, tad polls and mosquito fish. Quite interesting.
Thank you Eva for arranging this special field trip and sharing your expertise. And thank you Hart for helping to identify those tricky sandpipers.
We saw a total of 40 species.
Field Trip Guide - Eva Ries
Report submitted by Adella Blacka, photos by Bob Blacka, Richard Lynch and Hart Rufe
Click photos for larger versions
Platt's Creek Preserve and en route / Total species seen or heard:40
Seen on route: European Starling
Mottled Duck (HR)
Pileated Woodpecker (HR)
Spotted Sandpiper (HR)