Did I say wow???? What a day! If you missed Cedar Key yesterday, you missed a lot. Although our crowded event calendar for the month prevented us from doing the trip later in April; it did not prevent sightings of some of our favorite birds. We had 25 participants with 88 species!!! That's almost 3 1/2 birds per participant.! A great ratio. There weren't many ducks, but two Mallards and a Red-breasted Merganser were tallied.
Last week’s scoping meeting on the Sabal Trail gas pipeline in Dunnellon played to a standing room only crowd, few of whom seemed pleased with the idea of a pipeline in their back yard. Fl Audubon’s Eric Draper has even penned a letter to FERC explaining why the proposed route through Halpata is a big loser, and suggesting a better route. Many attendees strongly objected to allowing this shale gas pipeline to enter Florida at all.
The following is a summary of the locations birded and birds identified for March 2014.
Citrus County Audubon led a “Spring Break Children’s Bird Walk” to Red Fish Hole which is a salt marsh off Ft Island Trail. The birds were not very cooperative in the marsh, but the kids enjoyed the marsh edges and identifying shells and animal tracks along the way. They were given a brief history of the flora by Cyndy Holliday who is a Florida Conservation Resource Management Technician. Ft Island Beach was our next stop where birds and the sand were a bit more exciting. Gulls, Loons, Double–crested Cormorants, Sandpipers and Grebes were in abundance.
The threat of rain must have been a deterrent to birders Saturday morning. We were just four. But the birds were there! A fallout took place in the Butterfly Garden. Warblers were busy in the oaks gleaning insects from the moss and under the leaves. Summer Tanager, Great-crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed,Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireos, Swallow-tailed Kite, Worm-eating, Black & White, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, and Northern Parula Warblers were in evidence. The best photo op came with the two Prothonotary Warblers that posed by the springs for many pics and a video.
What a great three days! I spent March 20th, 21st and 22nd co-leading the Hernando, Citrus and Pasco counties hot spot field trips.
The Hernando Hot Spots trip on the 20th was a huge success with 66 species in total.
Florida Audubon is keeping a close eye on several important water and conservation bills this session. One is Senator Charlie Dean’s Springs bill, which has now been filed as SB 1575, along with a companion House bill 1313. As of this writing the bill was still being “tweaked” to its final version. Fl. Audubon has been involved in the process.
The following is a summary of the locations birded and birds identified for February 2014.
Our own State Senator Charlie Dean, who chairs the Senate’s Environmental Committee and is in the last three years of his political career, stated recently in the Chronicle “ I love my cattle, I love my John Deeres, but I love my water first.” Even those who have been critical of Dean in the past seem convinced of his sincerity when it comes to Florida’s water. Indeed, Florida Audubon gave him an award for his efforts at their Assembly last year, and Executive Director Eric Draper even labeled him “ Senator Springs”.