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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Local Birding

I spent some time birding this morning at T.M. Goodwin WMA and St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park.  Goodwin was pretty devoid of birds, compared to usual.  We did see a Limpkin near the boat ramp and heard several uncooperative Sedge wrens.  There were birds flying further back in the WMA, but we were on foot this morning.  Thursdays FWC allows driving access to the Broadmoor Unit in the north end.  We had other plans for the morning.

We crossed the road to the preserve to hunt for Red-cockaded woodpecker and Bachman's sparrow.  While there, we ran into Sammy, the biologist, who updated me on the status of RCW's on the preserve.  There are now more active clusters of RC woodpeckers on the preserve than in 1995 when the state made the first land purchase.  More birds are being brought onto the preserve each year to enhance the population which dropped to four birds after the 2004 hurricane season.  The northeast part of the preserve is the best habitat and is nearly saturated with woodpeckers.  The preserve staff have been conducting habitat restoration in the area under a grant that requires they burn some of the areas every 18-24 months.  The difference in habitat quality is pretty dramatic,  Palmettos and woody vegetation have been much reduced, and grassy vegetation has flourished.  The Bachman's sparrows have responded well, they are everywhere out there now.  Even Northern mockingbirds are more plentiful in this area.

We had to leave the area because the staff had assembled to conduct a prescribed burn this very day.  We sat in on the briefing which was interesting.  Even Hall in in charge of the burn program at the preserve and he is doing a great job, with little available resources.

Now I have to do Christmas shopping and other non bird stuff.  What fun!

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