14 March 2008

Great Day at Green Cay

Every week I have the privilege of doing a
bird count at work. This week was exceptional not only with the birds but the weather was perfect and a certain mammal made an appearance. Warbler migration doesn't come into full swing until April but the hint of movement was in the air today. We had a Northern Parula and a couple beautiful male Common Yellowthroats mixed in with the normal Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers. A lone female Pine Warbler caught a moth six feet in front of me on a Cabbage Palm and devoured her prey. Just a few extra warblers had me all excited; I can't wait until April rolls around.

This is a typical warbler photo of mine. Either they seem to be blurry or have their backs turned like this one or they are missing altogether and it's just a nice vegetation picture. Regardless, I may be giving up even trying to capture one on my poor quality digital.

The American Coots were out in full force with over 48 on the count. But they couldn't compete with the nesting birds. Our Purple Martins were busy giving chase and tending to their female partners in the houses. I counted over 60 martins around our 4 houses. The place is full of chatter and bird song. The PUMAs weren't the only swallow out at the wetlands; there have been good numbers of Tree Swallows every day. Today we only had a baker's dozen flying around but there have been reports of hundreds in the early morning roosting.

The top winner of the bird count for sheer number goes to the Common Moorhen with over 105 individuals on the count. This number will probably triple by the end of the summer. The first three clutches of the season have hatched and are giving their parents some trouble. This parent was already down to three chicks. They constantly cried for food and attention as she pecked away at the Duckweed and Water Lettuce.

Overall, it was a great day to be walking the boardwalk at Green Cay. And as for that certain mammal, I finally saw our resident Coyote. It was running near the water's edge on the south berm heading due east towards the Winsberg Farm. I've seen Coyotes before in South Carolina and heard them all through the night while camping in Georgia but this was a Florida first and a beautiful mammal for the park. Of course, I hear it's getting a bad reputation at the farm and they are trying to trap it without any luck.

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