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Friends of St. Marks
Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 368
St. Marks, FL 32355

Phone: (850) 925-6121

Email for more information

Photo Credits

Don's Survey

Waking up early, I decided to go for an impromptu duck survey at the refuge. It turned out to be a beautiful Fall day, starting with a predawn chesire-cat-grin moon flanked by Mars, Venus, Spica and Jupiter. Four Sandhill Cranes were silhouetted against the dawning sky presaging a 100-species day. In 7 hours at the refuge starting at 6:00 am I had the following:

Stony Bayou II (half the ducks at the refuge are on SB2)

  • American Bittern
  • Wood Duck (37)
  • Green-winged Teal (342)
  • Northern Pintail (4)
  • Blue-winged Teal (87)
  • Northern Shoveler (3)
  • Gadwall (14)
  • Redhead (2)
  • Ring-necked Duck (8)
  • Lesser Scaup (30)
  • Bufflehead (2)
  • Hooded Merganser (5)

Mounds Pool III (most ducks in the Southern end accessible from the Tower Pond Trail)

  • American Wigeon (62)
  • Black Duck (3)
  • Mallard (41)
  • Northern Shoveler (12)
  • Northern Pintail (6)
  • Green-winged Teal (60)
  • Redhead (1)
  • Ring-necked Duck (2)
  • Lesser Scaup (1)
  • Hooded Merganser (12)

Duck numbers and diversity are way up, but numbers are lagging behind this time last year. I had 18 species and 874 individuals. GW Teal are predictably the most common. I had Horned Grebe, Common Loon, Common Goldeneye and Northern Gannet offshore. The Gannet was spotted by Matt Johnstone.

White Pelicans and Turkey Vultures are still moving through, though in much reduced numbers. John Murphy is correct as usual. Mixed in with the Turkey Vultures, I had Osprey, Harriers, Red-shouldered Hawk and a Peregrine Falcon.

I spent the last of my 7 hours trying to add 2 species (Blue-headed Vireo and Hermit Thrush) to get to 100. I never did see Carolina Wren or Cardinal.

 

 

 

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Copyright: St. Marks Refuge Association, 2013