I logged 88 species, including 18 species of waterfowl, during a five-hour morning recon for Saturday's Wildlife Tour at St. Marks.
Duck numbers and diversity are building steadily. Shorebirds are abundant. Lots of winter residents have returned and more will be pushed down by this week's front.
Some highlights of the morning were:
Stony Bayou I (where most of the shorebirds are)
American Avocet (10)
Stony Bayou II
Snow Goose (one blue phase)
Wood Stork (15)
Mounds Pool III
Black Duck (one pair)
Mallard (including one pair in aberrant plumage; pale bluish-gray with dark head and tail)
Lighthouse Pond and offshore
White-faced Ibis (two hanging with a Glossy)
Nelson's Sparrow (several along the shoreline)
Ring-necked Ducks have been regular on Headquarters Pond. Although Vermilion Flycatcher has been reported off-and on at several spots on the refuge, I didn't have one. All in all, it was a great way to burn a few vacation hours.
Call the refuge at 850-925-6121 to sign up.