Date: 3/9/17 11:01 am
From: Daniel Estabrooks <000000078b08fc2d-dmarc-request...>
Subject: [BRDBRAIN] Lake Marion Creek WMA - S-T Kites, etc.
I spent my morning today at Lake Marion Creek Wildlife Management Area, northeast of Haines City. It's a great place to bird if you enjoy a) not seeing any birds, and b) providing a buffet for the deer flies. (If there are any entomologists in the group, can you tell me why they always want to get in my ears? It's so annoying! LOL)
Anyway, Snell Creek passes through the heart of the management area, and it is surrounded by over 900 acres of bottomland hardwood forest - the same kind of ecosystem that occurs at Saddle Creek Park. And it's probably full of interesting warblers, but unfortunately SFWMD has never cut any trails through that habitat, so it's almost entirely inaccessible.
But that kind of habitat is also attractive to Swallow-tailed Kites, and fortunately you don't have to be IN the forest to see them. I saw at least six individuals today - the first I'd seen in 2017. That was really the only interesting bird I saw, aside from a whole bunch of Yellow Palm Warblers, which seem to be pretty common in the northern parts of Polk County, though clearly not as attracted to gas stations and Walmarts as their Western cousins.
Full eBird list (with more information) below:
Lake Marion Creek WMA--Snell Creek, Polk, Florida, US
Mar 9, 2017 8:55 AM - 12:10 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.8 mile(s)
Comments:    Walked a good percentage of the trails at the main Snell Creek entrance, plus the small area around the two entrance points east of Snell Creek on the south side of the road.
33 species

Great Egret  1
Black Vulture  7
Turkey Vulture  2
Swallow-tailed Kite  6    All flying together way out west of the power line that forms the western edge of the management area. I also saw one individual flying low and feeding on what appeared to be a small mammal at 28.1346, -81.5377. I didn't count it, assuming it to be one of the six.
Bald Eagle  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  2
Sandhill Crane  1
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  4
Pileated Woodpecker  3
American Kestrel  2
Eastern Phoebe  6
White-eyed Vireo  8
Blue-headed Vireo  2
Tufted Titmouse  2
House Wren  5
Carolina Wren  4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  17
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  5
Hermit Thrush  4    First bird seen well at 28.1370, -81.5345. Two birds seen together at 28.1362, -81.5476. A fourth bird heard clucking but not seen at 28.1306, -81.5537.
Gray Catbird  11
Northern Mockingbird  2
Ovenbird  2
Black-and-white Warbler  3
Common Yellowthroat  5
Northern Parula  12
Palm Warbler  5    The four birds that I saw well were all Yellow Palms. I didn't see the fifth bird well enough to ID to subspecies group. I've noticed that I tend to find mostly Yellows in large wilderness areas and mostly Westerns in smaller preserves with nearby urban development.
Pine Warbler  5
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
Eastern Towhee  10
Northern Cardinal  6

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Daniel EstabrooksWinter Haven, FL

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