Monday, October 12, 2009

Sarasota County's Celery Fields


Just southeast of Sarasota, between Fruitville and Palmer Roads there is a series of stormwater retention wetlands (PUBx) that are maintained by the county to store and manage excess water during the rainy season. When its not raining the wetlands stay around and produce some excellent waterbird habitat. The berms and surrounding uplands support an interesting collection of woody vegetation that likely supports a few wintering sparrows and similar species.

I found the Celery Fields last spring and birded them several times before it got to be too miserably hot. This afternoon I made a two hour stroll along the berms at the Celery Fields checking to see what was around for migrants and potential winter residents. Despite signs suggesting other residents the only non-bird creatures I found there were other humans.

My day list included 41 species of which five were new for my Sarasota County list. Those included Blue-winged Teal, Sora, American Coot (the venerable "Minnesota Mallard" to Wisconsinites), Marsh Wren and Chipping Sparrow. The fields seem to have a lot of potential for some great birding in the colder months ahead.

Included in the list were about 30 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks

and maybe 20 Blue-winged Teal, the latter working their way down to the Caribbean and northern South America for the winter.

The best find of the day was the Limpkins, all nine of them, that I found while strolling around the wetlands.

My list for the day is below. I look forward to many other fruitful days checking the wetlands and the scrubby vegetation now that cold temperatures (70s) are about to arrive.

Anhinga

Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Tricolored Heron
Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret

White Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Mallard
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Sandhill Crane

Limpkin

Sora
American Coot

Black-necked Stilt

Killdeer

Greater Yellowlegs

Ring-billed Gull
Laughing Gull

Mourning Dove

Belted Kingfisher

Barn Swallow

Carolina Wren
Marsh Wren

Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Fish Crow

European Starling

Tennessee Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Palm Warbler
Common Yellowthroat

Chipping Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird
Boat-tailed Grackle
Common Grackle

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