Friday, July 22, 2016

Harns Marsh Preserve Summer Activity

The water level at Harns Marsh Preserve during a 19 July visit was very high, but did not deter a large number of waders from finding the habitat suitable.


The Purple Gallinule above (image 1) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

Bud Tom Obrock and I made a drive over to the preserve in Lehigh Acres which also hosted a very good number of Purple Gallinule and Gray-headed Swamphen. A few Least Bittern were active as well. Tom noted that the water was moving opposite its normal direction.


The Mottled Duck above (image 2) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The immature Little Blue Heron above (image 3) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The juvenile Common Gallinule above (image 4) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Great Egret with prey above (image 5) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The immature Snowy Egret above (image 6) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Mottled Duck above (image 7) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The juvenile Tricolored Heron above (image 8) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The most abundant wader on hand was Tricolored Heron which seemed to favor a very small footprint in the marsh. As the morning progressed, the primarily juveniles representing the species took off to the west one by one. There was also a dominant Great Egret that drove off several of its kind.


The juvenile Tricolored Heron above (image 9) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Little Blue Heron above (image 10) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Great Egret above (image 11) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Great Egret above (image 12) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Great Egret above (image 13) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Great Egret above (image 14) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Great Egret above (image 15) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

Snail Kite, which is one of the signature species of Harns Marsh Preserve, was not seen during the visit. Tom attributes this in his blog to the high water level. If there were any Apple Snail casings on the vegetation, they were not seen.


The Great Egret with Tricolored Heron above (image 16) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The juvenile Tricolored Heron above (image 17) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Tricolored Heron above (image 18) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Sandhill Crane above (image 19) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Boat-tailed Grackle above (image 20) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Red-headed Woodpecker above (image 21) was photographed near Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Red-headed Woodpecker above (image 22) was photographed near Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

It was also a treat to get back to the Wellington Red-headed Woodpecker site where a pair of Florida Northern Bobwhite were observed walking across the road. There were possibly two more bobwhite on hand as indicated by their calls. The woodpecker colony had at least one active juvenile.


The Blue Jay above (image 23) was photographed near Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Blue Jay above (image 24) was photographed near Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

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The Red-headed Woodpecker above (image 25) was photographed near Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

6 comments:

  1. Really lovely shots of the red-headed woodpecker. I've not seen one in person yet. I still find it a challenge to distinguish between the various woodpecker species like hairy woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers.

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    1. Thank you, Jacquelin. I think the frequency in which one observes a species greatly enhances the ability to identify it if you care to. There should only be a few species, in my view, that are difficult to differentiate once the main characteristics are identified. Examples are leg color, beak size and shape, plumage, not to mention the overall size of the bird and consideration of its suitable habitat. When reviewing images very recently, I was looking at a Cooper's Hawk I had photographed convincing myself that the bird was another species even after questioning what I was looking at. With good fortune I was corrected for my error. There are many aha moments in the understanding of birding that are instilled in me. As you mention Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, just remember that the Hairy Woodpecker has a long beak while the downy does not. Imagine my future excitement when I see a Ladder-backed Woodpecker for the first time in the field while thinking how similar it is to the Red-bellied Woody.

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  2. We enjoyed two visits over the years to Harns Marsh. We photographed Limpkins there and saw Snail Kites nearby. We did not see the swamphens, but perhaps we did not have a good search image….

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    1. It's good to know that you have had the great fortune to visit Harns Marsh Preserve, Dan. This venue will always remain a favorite of mine. It offers a unique experience upon each visit. Limpkins were heard more than seen on this recent trip. I regret not mentioning them. I think the absence of the Snail Kite was merely bad luck. The presence of the swamphens in their numbers was unexpected. They were a special treat. When I am unable to readily appreciate this exceptional venue in the future, it is certain that I will be kicking myself for not making the effort more often.

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  3. Wonderful documentation of the full assortment of species at Harns Marsh, Bob! I don't recall the Swamphen being regular at this venue. The high water levels probably means fewer Snail Kites .... brought back a lot of memories!

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    1. Thank you, Hemant. eBird is flagging the swamphen as a rarity. A mating pair apparently arrived at Harns Marsh in early January 2016. Tom noted that he observed three swamphen chicks at Harns in one of his checklists in May. The high water level theory regarding the Snail Kites makes sense. I thought of you while visiting the woodpecker site knowing you would enjoy being there.

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