Thursday, October 22: Flint Pen Strand

The Painted Buntings are at a feeder in my front yard. The two males were first seen on Sunday and a female joined them at the feeder on Tuesday. The House Finch is still there, but so far no Chipping Sparrows or Goldfinches have come. They usually arrive much later.

Thursday morning and early afternoon were spent hiking in Flint Pen Strand.. Water is still high so not all of the regular routes were possible. However, 44 species of birds were seen along with 12 species of dragonflies and 10 species of butterflies.

More seasonal arrivals were seen.

The American Kestrel at the left was one of two seen. This one was perched at the very top of a pine snag a ltitle west of the lakes parking lot. The second one was in the air north of the marsh.

A couple of new species for FPS were seen. Most notable was the female Pin-tailed Pondhawk at the upper left. It's the first time that species has ever been seen in the CREW Wildlife Management Area. It was the only one seen and was north of the canal and a little west of Poorman's Pass.

Several of the Four-spotted Pennants, one in the lower photo, were seen. They're not uncommon, but they aren't frequent sightings. Halloween Pennants were by far the most often seen of the dragonflies. Lots of Eastern Pondhawks and Blue Dashers were present as well. It was a windy day and all were very close to the ground and often in large groups. One "mystery" dragonfly was present but is yet unidentified.

The most commonly seen butterflies were Gulf Fritillaries and Barred Yellows. Only two Palamedes Swallowtails were seen and only one each of Monarch, Common Buckeye, and Viceroy.

Another bird species returning for the season was the Eastern Phoebe. It had been a while since the last Phoebe was seen last spring, so it calling, "Phoebe, phoebe" really helped. A small group of Pine Warblers were foraging in one tree, which was the first sighting of them this autumn.

An uncommon sighting was a Yellow-breasted Chat near the start of the red trail. It was an accidental sighting. A White-eyed Vireo was singing loudly in a tall bush right next to the trail and while looking up to try and find it, movement lower caught my attention. There was the Chat in the open right below me. It quickly flew up into the denser vegetation.

The most often seen birds were Catbirds and Palm Warblers, both of which seemed to be present in almost all areas of the trails. The next most common were White Ibis, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, and Northern Mockingbirds.

As was true last week, all of the regular herons and egrets were present, but still no night herons. Other water related birds were Killdeer, one Greater Yellowlegs, Mottled Ducks, Anhingas, and a Pied-billed Grebe.

Three Belted Kingfishers and four Osprey rounded out that group.

Near the end of the walk, the family of Wild Turkeys at the left emerged and walked down part of the yellow trail. they were very calm although alert and never took off running.