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

Phone: (850) 925-6121

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Photo Credits

Don Morrow's Bird Survey

Survey taken on Tuesday, February 19

A six-hour duck survey today at St. Marks NWR yielded only 8 duck species, but I added 53 incidental bird species as I cruised through the refuge. The American Flamingo and the Vermilion Flycatcher are still present. The flycatcher will leave in about a month, no telling when the flamingo will leave.

I always get to the refuge when it opens at 6:00 am and drive out in the darkness to get in position to start my survey at the far end of Stony Bayou II at sunrise. That way I have the sun at my back and can get in a little night birding along the way. My night birds today included at least six Barred Owls,  Wilson’s Snipe, Killdeer and singing Marsh Wrens. There were lots of calling frogs and even a few baby gators. Just before sunrise I saw two murmurations of unidentifiable birds, likely hundreds of individuals or even a few thousand. They were already several hundred feet up and drifted off to the North. They were too far off in the dawn light for an ID, even with a scope. My guess, given the time of year, is Tree Swallows.

Stony Bayou II

  • Blue-winged Teal (83)
  • Northern Shoveler (3)
  • Green-winged Teal (136)
  • American Flamingo
  • White-faced Ibis, an apparently continuing bird on the West end
  • Roseate Spoonbill (3)
  • Merlin

Mounds Pool III

  • Lesser Scaup (6)
  • Bufflehead (17)
  • American White Pelican (1) flyover bird
  • Merlin, apparently the same bird that was on SB II

Tower Pond was empty due to tide level and Lighthouse Pool had only a pair of Northern Shovelers and a few scaup. Offshore was active with Common Loons, Horned Grebes, about 60 Bufflehead a few Common Goldeneye and a raft of scaup that I estimated at 400 birds. They were identifiable as scaup, but even with a scope I couldn’t separate out any Greater Scaup from the Lessers. In total I had 720 ducks.

It was a nice day to be out. The willows are blooming as are the Stiffcornel Dogwoods at the Double Bridges. Winter is dying down and Spring is beginning.















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