Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 CBC in St. Pete, Part 2

Part two of our St. Pete Christmas Bird Count began after wolfing down some pizza (while still counting birds from the upper deck, of course) and then splitting up to grab some more species for our list. Don and Jeff headed out to some ponds while Lorraine and I headed to another section in hopes of finding a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

It was looking bleak at the spot they saw it earlier in the week. We circled the pond and tallied other birds along the way including Muscovy Ducks resting in the shade under the trees.

Muscovy Duck

In the small retention pond we had Anhinga, Great Egret, Tricolored Heron, and numerous White Ibis which are everywhere.

White Ibis

We began to scan the trees around the pond, taking note of the trees with bore holes made by Sapsuckers in the past. Scanning several trees we did find a Black-and-White Warbler which is always a good find. Still no sign of our target bird and Lorraine charged me with finding one before we left. Moments later, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker flew in right over my head! Once Lorraine got a shot of our bird a second flew in to chase the other around. Success!

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Off to search for Hooded Mergansers. They typically frequent a pond across from the golf course, I was told, so we made a stealthy approach (Hoodies are very skittish) but the pond only gave up Common Gallinules and Pied-billed Grebes. Farther along in a different 'window' in the mangroves we did find an adult Brown Pelican, one of many for the day.

Brown Pelican

Our final search area of the day was the golf course where at least we could ride instead of walk. The new enemy of the count was the increasing winds as the front moved ever closer toward us. There was already rain being reported at the coast.


Our first pond along the first first tee revealed several Blue-winged Teal and a Roseate Spoonbill.

Blue-winged Teal and Roseate Spoonbill

The next pond had a few more Teal and an Anhinga that was not sure whether to fly off or just hope we moved along.


A brave female Anhinga. It let us drive real close to get a sweet pose.


Just past the Anhinga, a Little Blue Heron rested among the reeds.

Little Blue Heron

Jeff and Don took the lead as we passed a flock of Double-crested Cormorants. Nothing else was found here and we decided to wrap up and call it a pretty good day of birding, despite the weather. At least it was warm this year!

Double-crested Cormorant

In the evening, the votes would be tallied from all of the ten groups throughout the St. Pete area. Total species counted this year was 156 which is fairly average. A new bird found for the count was the first ever Lapland Longspur found by another group to the West of us in a restricted area.

CBCs are always a great time. I am privileged to be asked to help out my west coast birders and love the chance to look for some birds I don't normally get to see in Central Florida. Thanks, as always to Don and Lorraine Margeson for their hospitality and friendship and it was great meeting and birding with a new birding friend in Jeff Miller.

Can't wait until next year!

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