Date: 3/2/17 5:03 pm
From: Daniel Estabrooks <000000078b08fc2d-dmarc-request...>
Subject: [BRDBRAIN] Saddle Creek Park - American Bittern, redstarts, etc.
I spent the afternoon at Saddle Creek Park, east of Lakeland, mainly to see if there were any early spring migrants around.
Back in the day, Saddle Creek was a pretty famous warbler spot. In fact, I have an older Florida birding guide that mentions it as one of the most reliable places in the state to see Cerulean Warblers. Well, it's gradually become overgrown with all sorts of invasive plants, and only three Ceruleans have been reported in the last 10 years.
So it isn't what it used to be, but there was still some good stuff around - most prominently three American Redstarts. First week of March is a little early for them to be here, so that was cool. And I got surprised by an American Bittern trying his best to hide in a patch of reeds along Morgan Combee Rd. that wasn't much bigger than he was. Definitely not good bittern habitat, but he was there nonetheless.
Full eBird report below...
Saddle Creek Park, Polk, Florida, US
Mar 2, 2017 11:15 AM - 3:20 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.2 mile(s)
Comments:    Walked the whole nature trail and most of the road.
55 species (+2 other taxa)

Mallard (Domestic type)  12
Pied-billed Grebe  20
Double-crested Cormorant  75
Anhinga  15
Brown Pelican  2
American Bittern  1    This guy was trying his best to hide in a pitiful little cluster of reeds at 28.0625, -81.8846. I saw him fly in, and it still took me a little while to find him, which is a testament to how well they can camouflage themselves.
Great Blue Heron  10
Great Egret  9
Snowy Egret  1
Little Blue Heron  4
Tricolored Heron  4
Cattle Egret  5
White Ibis  14
Glossy Ibis  1
Black Vulture  15
Turkey Vulture  180    Rough estimate. This location is a well-known vulture roosting spot during the winter. I estimated ~200 vultures total, and almost all of them were Turkeys.
Osprey  5
Bald Eagle  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  3
Common Gallinule  7
Limpkin  10
Killdeer  1
Ring-billed Gull  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Mourning Dove  2
Barred Owl  2    Male and female calling to each other near the south end of the nature trail.
Belted Kingfisher  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Phoebe  5
White-eyed Vireo  2
Blue-headed Vireo  4
Blue Jay  2
Fish Crow  18
Tufted Titmouse  4
House Wren  1    I've seen very few of these guys the last several times I've been out. They should still be common at this time of year. I'm not sure where they've all gone.
Carolina Wren  7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  9
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  8
Hermit Thrush  3    Two birds along the nature trail. The third was at the bridge into Tenoroc FMA.
Gray Catbird  2
Northern Mockingbird  3
Ovenbird  3    Two heard-only, one seen. One bird at the bridge into Tenoroc FMA, and two more together near the south end of the nature trail.
Louisiana/Northern Waterthrush  1    At the bridge into Tenoroc FMA. Darn thing "chink"-ed at me for several minutes and sounded very close, but I was never able to see it. I can ID waterthrush calls in a spectrogram, but I wasn't able to get a recording, and I don't trust myself to make an ID by ear alone.
Black-and-white Warbler  5
Common Yellowthroat  1
American Redstart  3    FOS for me. One male at the bridge into Tenoroc FMA, plus another male and a female along the nature trail.
Northern Parula  17
Palm Warbler  5
Yellow-rumped Warbler  50
Northern Cardinal  14
Red-winged Blackbird  6
Common Grackle  11
Boat-tailed Grackle  40
American Goldfinch  1

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Daniel Estabrooks
Winter Haven, FL

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