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Subject: Summer Birds

Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999
From: MWNicolay

Who said that there were no good birds in Florida in the summer time?

Friday Kathleen Davidson and I took a leisurely trip over to the Kenansville area to look for the White-tailed Kites and Burrowing Owls, of which we saw none.

But on our way out of Melbourne on 192 going west, just 1 mile past Camp Holly, we saw two adult Crested Caracara feeding on road kill and up on the next telephone pole we saw their three offspring, preening and enjoying the sunshine. Shortly thereafter we started counting Sandhill Cranes which totaled more than 50 by the end of the trip. As we looked at a large group of White Ibis a Pileated Woodpecker landed on a short snag nearby. The Wild Turkey were out in large numbers and quite confident walking around with their young. We saw six immature taking sand baths as the adults stood guard. There was one group of over 20 along Canoe Creek Road. Our Turkey count was 48. Six Limpkin were seen between the Lake Marion boat landings and Joe Overstreet Fish Camp. The adult Bald Eagles were wonderful to watch fishing over Lake Kissammee, 5 total. Just as we were paying the day use fee at Lake Jackson a pair of Common Nighthawks flew over. In the Oak trees near the boat ramp we saw Northern Parula, White-eyed Vireos, Eastern Towhees, Red-shouldered Hawk and then decided it was just too hot to walk anymore. On the way out we heard Common Yellowthroats and Carolina Wrens. Along Canoe Creek Road we saw 7 Eastern Blue Birds and then lost count as the total rose driving down to the lake.

Eastern Meadowlark songs could be heard even with the windows up. One interesting sight was over 25 fence posts in a row topped by Boat-tailed Grackle all with their mouths open in the great heat. My husband tells me to look at every single bird and it pays off for there in the Grackle lineup was a Meadowlark. I guess he couldn't resist joining in.

On each trip we look for the Fox squirrels on Joe Overstreet Road, none were sighted today. A hint though is that they are often seen in the Pine trees on the right as you drive in and are also seen under the big trees near the houses further south. In one of the mud holes along the road we spotted a Juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron. Down near the lake three Whooping Cranes were seen close up. They never cease to amaze with their great size and coloring. We marveled that they can fly with all of the tracking devices they wear. Nearby a Snail Kite was fishing, bringing the snails to a fence post in the water close to shore allowing for great study. Eastern Kingbird and Black-necked Stilt rounded out our day. Of course the usual common birds were seen and brought our day totals much higher than we expected. Considering that there is no good birding in the summertime someone has forgotten to tell the birds.

To quote Hugh Nicolay again, "Every bird is a good bird."

Good summer birding. Mary Nicolay

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