Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 26th, 2013

Late this afternoon, battling US 1 southbound boxing day shoppers in Jensen Beach and Stuart, I made it to  Possum Long Nature Center which is the home of Audubon of Martin County.  This active club owns over 400 acres of wildlife preserves, including this 4.7 acre gem which they share with the local garden club.

The property is also the local bird banding center.  The time of day and year isn't conducive to many species of birds, and the clouds reduced butterflies in the ideally-planted butterfly garden.  Fans: no new wildlife/wildflower photos today.

In solidarity with the Pakenham/Arnprior Ontario annual Boxing Day Bird Count, which included me as a participant when I was more tolerant of cold, I did a bird count at the Possum Long Nature Center, and then at the public beach on Hutchinson Island, also in Martin County.

At Possum Long Nature Center, the osprey platform was occupied by a pair of.......hold on......Ospreys!

Also heard were Blue jays, and Yellow-rumped Warblers (lovingly known as Butter Butts). Seen were Boat-tailed Grackles and Mourning Doves.

On the drive to the beach, the omnipresent Starlings were seen.

At the beach,  I watched as a young woman fishing with her boyfriend, caught a Jack Crevalle. 

Birds included: Black and Turkey Vultures; Ring-billed, Herring and Laughing Gulls; Royal Tern; Double-Crested Cormorant; 15 Brown Pelicans; and 13 Willets.  Note that I didn't visit the nearby wetlands in order to include all of the usual species!

Now back to Starlings and Grackles.....which hang around shopping centers in south Florida.

Two stories:

1. A week ago on December 19, I noticed that the Starlings and Grackles, which attempt to roost at dusk, were being disturbed, panicking . Then right in front of my car and to the left, I saw a Merlin just miss snatching a Starling, and the Merlin landed on the pavement. The light was red, so the Merlin was safe. It sat for a moment then took off again after another Starling.
Nature does show itself in odd places at times.

2. At another St. Lucie, Florida shopping center,  on December 11th,

there were hundreds of Common Grackles being raucous, and totally dominating the local boat-tailed Grackles cowering in the palm trees. Up to that day, I hadn't seen many Common Grackles.  These are the Grackles we see in eastern Canada.  The Boat-tailed Grackles are much larger, and are resident in southeast coastal Florida.