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Saturday, March 30, 2013

St. Sebastian River Preserve

This evening I went to St. Sebastian River Preserve for Dee and Heather's last manatee watch of the season.  There was only one manatee.  Afterward, we walked the east end of the levee along C-54 Canal.  I used to work at this preserve, for 12+ years in fact.  During that time we worked on restoring some of the Sandhill community along the North Prong of Sebastian River.  This is the only intact patch of Sandhill (as defined by FNAI, Florida Natural Areas Inventory) in Brevard County.  Hardwood removal projects that started when I was working there over five years ago have been completed and the prescribed burning program is rocking and rolling.  It looks nice.  I wish I could get out there more often.  The stroll east from the manatee vista area offers a chance to walk atop the levee and get a nice view of the restored habitat.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Day 3

The weather threatened to derail our field trip today, but we managed to be indoors during the worst of it.  For the third day in a row, I was able to show people Red-cockaded woodpeckers.  We were not so successful with Bachman's sparrow, the little bugger insisted on singing down in the bushes instead of using the myriad of perches available.

Afterward the woodpecker trip, we convened at the Chinsegut Nature Center for a workshop on the Breeding Bird Atlas.  The group seemed pretty interested and asked some good questions.  We went out around the nature center to so some actual field work and practice using the breeding bird codes.  I will send out information packets to those who were in the class next week.

Big Thanks to Andy Wraithmell and the rest of the FWCC staff and volunteers who put on a fantastic festival!  A lot of people had a really nice time in Florida's Nature Coast.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Day 2 again

Today was the second day of the festival, although it seems like the third.  We ran the same trip today as yesterday with much more success.  We were able to get on the Red-cockaded woodpeckers more quickly.  We eventually tracked down a Bachman's sparrow.  Summer tanager and Yellow-throated vireos made appearances.  The Burrowing owls were in the usual spot.  Bystre Lake was FANTASTIC!  We go the usual Limpkins.  White pelicans were more prevalent than yesterday.  We had time, so I scanned the grassy peninsula in the lake and got two Greater white-fronted geese!  A first for me in the county and perhaps a first ever in the county.  At least one other local birder got to see them today.  Along with the geese were a couple Black-necked stilts, also a county bird.  Got Merlin for a third county bird, two days in a row.  The boat trip was less birdy, but we still had incredible looks at Louisiana waterthrush.  Scrub jays were silent but present at Half Moon WMA.  The entire group was happy and tired and very quiet on the way back.

Tomorrow I look at RCW's in a different area and do some Breeding Bird Atlas training at Chinsegut Nature Center.

Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Day 2

Wow,  over a month since my last post.  How quickly I fall back into old habits!  I have been having a lot of fun working and birding lately.  Today I begin the second day of the Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  Yesterday I helped run the Ridge Specialties Tour.  Today I do it again with a smaller group this time.  We had good success yesterday, running it somewhat blind.  This time I have a better idea of where the Red-cockaded woodpeckers are and, more importantly, where the bathrooms are.