In a guest post by Don Morrow, he shares his findings of the first St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Tour of the season. It's time to get down to St. Marks and go birding.
The first St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge tours of the season took place on a sultry Fall day. This is a transitional time; those migrants that pass completely through our area are finishing up, while the winter resident species are coming in. I had five duck species today and eight this week. I’ve had Raccoon, Deer, Coyotes (calling) and a Black Bear this week.
Adding in some early morning recreational birding today I logged 71 species. Some highlights of the day were:
- Double Dikes
- King Rail & Sora (calling predawn to the North)
- Large cloud of Tree Swallows in the early morning
- Vermillion Flycatcher (male hanging in the area for the winter)
- Stony Bayou I
- Plovers (Black-bellied and Semipalmated)
- Greater Yellowlegs
- Ruddy Turnstone
- Sandpipers (Western & Least)
- SB Dowitcher
- Terns (Caspian & Forster’s)
- Stony Bayou II
- Wood Duck
- Northern Pintail
- Blue-winged Teal
- Northern Shoveler
- American Wigeon
We had a female Bobolink along the levee separating Mounds Pool I and III. Over the last few days I’ve been getting Catbirds, Phoebes, Marsh & House Wrens, Swamp & Song Sparrows along the levee edges. I’ve had Kestrel and Peregrine Falcons and also lots of cool butterflies.
The temperature is about to decrease and bird diversity at the refuge is about to increase. The winds following the front should bring down other ducks, Yellow-rumped Warblers, RC Kinglets and lots of other avian goodies. We’re Americans. This is your refuge. As soon as the front passes, get down to St. Marks and go birding.