St. Lucie Audubon Society

St. Lucie Sightings

Red Knot, Feb. 14, 2014, Fort Pierce Jetty Park

From Hart Rufe: Sunday, Feb. 14, shortly after 4p.m., Jewel and I took friends from Maine to see Fort Pierce Jetty Park, on the south side of Fort Pierce Inlet at the end of Seaway Drive. A short way out the paved portion of the jetty we found a winter plumage Red Knot. As we have not ever seen or heard of a Red Knot in St Lucie County, (although we have seen them at MINWR) I deemed this important enough to report. The bird did not associate with the numerous Ruddy Turnstones in the area, and was quite comfortable with people being in close proximity, which leads me to believe it may have been there for some time. If anyone thinks this report should be included on the Birdbrain hotline, please feel free to pass it on.

La Sagra's Flycatcher, Feb. 9, 2013, Field Trip to Wakadohatchee, Palm Beach County

A La Sagra's Flycatcher, rarely seen in Florida, was well observed and photographed by some on the trip. This photo by Don Sutherland.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican, November 8, 2012, Indian River, south of Fort Pierce

Hart and Jewel Rufe reported seeing and photogrpahed this bird. Although Brown Pelicans are common here, sightings of White Pelicans, numerous on Florida's West Coast, are unusual.

American Flamingo

American Flamingo, June 27, 2012, following Tropical Storm Debby, seen near St. Lucie Nuclear Plant

Amy Marques reported and photographed this American Flamingo. She said she saw no tags on its legs.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow, late March 2012, feeder in southern White City

White-crowned Sparrows do occur in small numbers in the northern states in the winter as they are more common farther north, and according to the field guides they do occur in the winter in Florida, but photographer Hart Rufe had never seen one here or heard of one being seen in the years he and Jewel have been coming down. This bird is changing from its juvenile to adult plumage, as shown by the rust colored spots in the head (juvenile) instead of the total black lines of the adult. Also there is still rust in the wings and on the back.

Hart said it appeared the bird was migrating and is not expected to remain in the area.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon, February 2012, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The amazing fact that there were six of them at Merritt Island this year is very remarkable, according to Hart Rufe, photographer. "One may show up there about every three or four years."


Click for photo from Birdpix


WURDEMANN'S HERON, Feb. 4, 2012, Field Trip to Wakadohatchee, Palm Beach County

A rarely seen Wurdemann’s Heron, a blend of the Great Blue and Great White Herons, was well observed and photographed by many on the trip. This photo by Hart Rufe, trip leader.

Common Eider

COMMON EIDER, Nov. 12, 2011, Field Trip on Indian River with Capt. Chop Lege

The Nov. 12 field trip yielded a rare sighting for participants, a Common Eider. Boat tour captain Chop Lege says the bird has been there for about 10 days and appears to be solo. Member Richard Lynch was able to get photographs that enabled experienced birders Dan Walma and Hart Rufe to verify the identification, though they debated whether the bird is a female (all brown) or a first-year male (white on flank appeared in one photo.) Rufe said in his 20 years of visiting area he had not seen one previously.

PURPLE SANDPIPER, Jan. 15, 2011, Fort Pierce Inlet State Park

The Beginners Birding Class Field trip found a Purple Sandpiper at the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. All members of the class saw the bird and both experienced birders Sam Fried and Hart Rufe described the field marks for the class and tried to make them understand what a rare and unusual find this bird was for St Lucie County. The only previous one Hart has seen here was the one at the FPL plant pond on Hutchison Island eight or 10 years ago. There  was one at Sebastian Inlet all winter about two years ago, but those are the only ones he knows of in Florida. (Photo, for information only, was taken in middle of the Bay-Tunnel bridge over the Chesapeake in Virginia by Hart Rufe)

HERMIT THRUSH, Feb. 13, 2009,the Wilcox Natural Area, northern St. Lucie County

Surprised to see a Hermit Thrush this far south, Hart Rufe was able to photograph this bird Feb. 13 at the Wilcox Natural Area. He later discovered in Pranty's A Birder's Guide to Florida, p. 320, that they winter in Florida and can be found, though uncommon, anywhere in the state, but according to the National Geographic Guide, are very rare south of Lake Okeechobee. Thus he suspects it was at about the southern limit of their winter range. This is the first he has seen in Florida, although they are fairly common in winter in Pennsylvania.

LEAST FLYCATCHER, Jan. 9, 2008, western St. Lucie County

On January 9, Hart Rufe saw and photographed a Least Flycatcher west of Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, while birding with friend Frank Haas of Pennsylvania. The bird was also seen Jan. 10 by Hank and Dotty Hull.

The flycatcher was last seen on Carlton Road south of SR. 70. From I-95 take SR 70 about 12 miles west to Carlton Road. Turn south on Carlton and go about 1 mile past the intersection with Germany Canal Road. After passing  Paleo Hammock on the right, watch for a "Pavement Ends" sign. The flycatcher was seen on the right side of the road about 100 feet past the sign. The bird responded to a brief playing of a prerecorded taped call.

Christmas Bird Count 2011

Christmas Bird Count 2010

Christmas Bird Count 2009

Christmas Bird Count 2008

Christmas Bird Count 2007

(Click for map of count areas)

Seen, identified and verified an unusual bird for St. Lucie County?

 Contact Ed Bowes