I decided to head down to St. Marks to see how the duck population is
doing. Numbers are noticeably down (942 ducks, less than half of what
should be here), but diversity was still high. In seven hours of birding
starting just after 6:00 am, I logged 71 species including 17 species of
waterfowl. The Vermilion Flycatcher is still on Lighthouse Road at the
Double Dikes and the Flamingo is still on Stony Bayou II. This morning your
best bet would have been to take the Stony Bayou II North levee out. The
Flamingo was visible from it, but not visible from the cross levee between
the two Stony Bayou pools.
*Stony Bayou I*
*Stony Bayou II*
American Black Duck (5)
Blue-winged Teal (84)
Northern Pintail (15)
Green-winged Teal (82)
Hooded Merganser (4)
American Wigeon (18)
Ring-necked Duck (2)
Red-breasted Merganser (4)
Ruddy Duck (9)
There were Common Goldeneye in Apalachee Bay and on Headquarters Pond.
There’s a good scattering of ducks on both Headquarters and on Mounds Pool
I and III.
The Federal shutdown is still ongoing. Maybe the missing ducks have been
furloughed as “non-essential personnel”? Remember that there are no
bathrooms or potable water at the refuge. Other than that, the refuge is
open and there’s good birding to be had.