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Monday, December 16, 2013

STA 1E 2013 12 15

Water levels were up from last time I visited STA 1E.  Purple swamphens were not as much in evidence as they retreated back into the vegetation, no longer forced to come out in the open to seek food.  We still saw plenty, but the estimated number was down considerably.  Shorebird numbers were down as well since their habitat was under water too deep for most species.  Stragglers seen last month such as Semipalmated and Pectoral sandpipers were gone as well as Dunlin which moved on to more hospitable fields.  Many low percentage birds that came in on the "perfect storm" last month did not show again.  No Ruddy turnstone, Brown pelican, Herring gull, or wildish Mallards. We did manage to see nine species of shorebirds including two Marbled godwits, unusual inland in winter, and several Black-necked stilts and American avocets.  Least sandpipers hung on along the shrinking muddy edges and Long-billed dowitchers were present in smaller numbers.

Duck numbers were way up as they figured out where the hunters are and where they are not.  Blue-winged teal were outnumbered only by American coot which find STA's much to their liking in winter.  Scattered groups of Northern pintail, Gadwall, and American wigeon eventually gave everyone good views.  11 1/2 species total, if you count the couple of Mallard X Mottled hybrids.

Non-bird sighting of the day was a Coyote that may have not been all Coyote.  It looked as if it may have been a coydog.

We finished with 86 series observed, a respectable total given that most of the lingerers from last time had moved on, save the couple of Barn swallows that may winter among the hordes of Northern rough-winged swallows present.  I won't be able to make it next month, but hope to do it again in February.

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