Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 St. Pete CBC, Part 2

Part 2 of the CBC post is going to be a bit more lengthy. I took so many more photos as the day went on and didn't expect to get many birds at the golf course. Settle in...

We headed back to Crescent Lake to look for our main target, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. We missed it the first two time. We were told where to look for the bird and as we got out of the car the first thing we found was a Red-bellied Woodpecker peeking out of a tree branch.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Gathered around the woodpecker were several European Starlings. They were all fussing at the woodpecker. Perhaps it use to be their nest site? Every now and then, one of the males would wave its wings about in protest.

European Starling

It took a little while but Jim finally spotted our bird in the Sweet Gum tree between the parking lot and the lake. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is very well camouflaged against the tree bark. If you aren't looking at the right moment it is easy to miss them.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Now that it was later in the day we got a chance to get a better view of the Lesser Scaups and Ring-necked Ducks. The Scuap is in the center.

Lesser Scaup Ring-necked Duck

Among the Ring-necked Ducks was a leucistic female.

Ring-necked Duck

I love how grumpy this Lesser Scaup looks. Hur-umph!

Lesser Scaup

One of the domestic duck present was a Graylag Goose who took some time to bathe as we were walking past.

Graylag Goose

Double-crested Cormorants were gathered along the shore. Great to have a chance to get a close look at those amazing eyes.

Double-crested Cormorant

What I didn't know about Double-crested Cormorants is that the insides of their mouth can get that Robin-egg blue. Thanks for the yawn!

Double-crested Cormorant

Not a lot of American Coots around but a few. Simply stunning in black and white.

American Coot

Couldn't resist a shot of a feather resting on the lawn.

Feather

Laughing Gulls were gathered at the North end of the lake.

Laughing Gull

We were told that WHite-winged Doves could be found at the Dairy Inn. Nope. Just wanted to prove that we did check.

Sign

We did find another dove on the way back to the lake. A Eurasian Collared Dove.

Eurasian Collared Dove

Just past the tennis courts were a pair of Yellow-shafted Flickers.

Yellow-shafted Flicker

We came back to the water tower and could here Monk Parakeets everywhere. Closer inspection revealed many nest wedged in the stairs and railings.

Monk Parakeet

A lot of the Monk Parakeets would fly down to the oaks and chew on some acorns.

Monk Parakeet

We stopped along a creek in search of more birds. Our leader, Jim McGinity, was trying to get a shot of the only ouse Wren we found today.

Jim McGinity

We were not thrilled to head to the golf course. We just figured there would not be that many species to be found out there. It was our final stop of the day. We loaded into cats and began our tour. If I hadn't have turned toward the practice range I would have missed our only raptor hiding in the shade. A Red-shouldered Hawk.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Jim and Killian were just ahead of me and seemed excited as they climbed out of their cart by a small pond. It was full of a couple dozen Northern Shovelers. I got my best shots of these birds ever today.

Northern Shoveler

They were enthralled with the ducks but I spied something else across to pond. A Spotted Sandpiper!

Spotted Sandpiper

The soon setting Sun lit up a female Northern Shoveler resting on shore.

Northern Shoveler

Just in front of her were our only Mottled Ducks of the day.

Mottled Duck

Feeling a bit more bouyed by these unexpected finds, we made the turn toward the next fairway and came upon a small flock of Blue-winged Teal.

Blue-winged Teal

Behind them was a pair of Mallard. This is the best I could get of the green feathers.

Mallard

Lurking along the shoreline was a feeding Roseate Spoonbill trying to stay hidden.

Roseate Spoonbill

You can try to hide, Roseate Spoonbill. You can try...

Roseate Spoonbill

Ospreys were busy diving for fish in all of the ponds. Just couldn't get those houses out of the way.

Osprey

My final shot of the day was a Loggerhead Shrike perched as we were exiting the course. We then turned in the carts and totaled our bird before heading home.

Loggerhead Shrike

Ten news species were gathered at the golf course. Who would have thunk it? Not bad day but I was hoping for more species in total. But, we were in very urban environments so I guess we did alright. The final total for the St. Pete CBC ended up being 163 species which was a tie for the 3rd best count ever. I was there for all the top counts. Can't wait for next year.

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