Date: 11/11/19 1:03 pm From: 'C or M Johnstone' <anhinga...> [nflbirds] <nflbirds-noreply...> Subject: [nflbirds] SMNWR, 11-11, Black Ducks, etc
Except for the heavy refuge traffic in a big hurry to get to the lighthouse or the SW boat ramp, another satisfying day of birding at the refuge. In fact, unless the weather is utterly wretched, you'd be hard pressed to not have a good birding day at the refuge right now.
East River Pool, viewed from the fishing pier - One Am. Black Duck in the company of a female Mallard (if too much of this goes on, you hard core listers are going to lose a species), many Blue-winged Teal (including the leucistic individual that's been around for several days; it is light beige - nearly white - with some faint darker beige mottling), Ring-necked Duck, and I'm sure some other duck species could have been found had I not been distracted by 18 Am. Avocets, 6 Roseate Spoonbill, a Sora that was wandering around in the open, White Pelicans, and a fine array of the expected herons and egrets. The Vermilion Flycatcher was posing shamelessly.
A walk out the double dikes and then out between SB #1 and #2 to the outer levee was not very productive. An Am. Bittern between the dikes near Lighthouse Road was the best bird. SB #2 - hot last year - is virtually empty, but did have a single female/first year male Bufflehead.
Mounds Pool #1 - the best action was near the bench, with all three species of ibis, herons and egrets, BW Teal, and both Scaup
Tower Pond - the usual assemblage of 1500+ shorebirds. Once again, Least Sandpipers (1) strangely absent from the higher mudflats. Bl-bellied and Semi-palm Plovers, Marbled Godwits, both dowitchers, G. Yellowlegs, Willets, W.. Sandpiper, and of course many hundreds of Dunlin. The only unexpected shorebird was a single Red Knot. For the next few days, because of very high tides, Tower Pond may be flooded and have no shorebird habitat about 3 hours after high tide in the bay. A stiff north wind could nullify that, however.
South end of Mounds #3 - Duck numbers are down a bit my last couple trips to this spot. Many Redhead, Bl-w Teal, a few Pintail, Gr-w Teal, about 10 Mallards, and, walking north to the second area of open water, two Am. Black Ducks.
Lighthouse Pool - Lots of resting Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, two Am. Oystercatchers, several Bl. Skimmers, Forster's Terns; 3 Bufflehead and a few scaup sp. out in the middle of the pool.