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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 Morrow's Bird Survey

Survey taken on Saturday, October 6

During a long ten-hour day that included pre-dawn birding and leading the October edition of the St. Marks Fall Wildlife tours I logged 72 species including both migrants and returning winter birds. Matt Johnstone drove for the Wildlife Tours and provided his usual keen bird spotting services. It was a beautiful day for birding.

For night birds I had Least Bittern, Clapper Rail, Barred & Great Horned Owls. Juvenile GH Owl have been calling for the last few weeks and it’s pretty easy to hear their loud screech in the darkness.

Tower Pond has the best birds and was loaded with birds in the morning. As the tide came in during the afternoon, many of the birds dispersed to the salt flats East of Tower Pond and Southeast of Picnic Pond. We had Roseate Spoonbills, Reddish Egrets, five Marbled Godwits and several hundred assorted shorebirds (Short-billed Dowitcher, Willet, Western & Least Sandpiper, Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plover Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs and a few Dunlin and several Ruddy Turnstones). A lone Caspian Tern has been hanging out there this week.

While waiting in the Visitors Center parking lot to start my afternoon tour I heard chipping from the woods across Lighthouse Road and found American Redstart, Tennessee Warbler, Northern Parula, Summer Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

We had a Pectoral Sandpiper on Mounds Pool I and a Spotted Sandpiper on Headquarters Pond. On Mounds Pool III we saw birds scatter, usually a sign of a falcon pass, but instead saw a black bobcat walking across the open marsh. It had evidently tried for birds, missed and ended up wet and muddy. In the afternoon, while returning to the Visitors Center we had two Palm Warblers near the Helispot.

Pied-billed Grebes are showing up for the winter and herons and Ibis continue to move through the refuge, heading East. I had my first Northern Shoveler of the season, flying in to join a flock of Blue-winged Teal and a lone Northern Harrier East of the Lighthouse. 

Head down to your local National Wildlife Refuge and do some birding.









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Copyright: St. Marks Refuge Association, 2013