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Birding Observations of Note for Field Trips to the Mosaic Phosphate Mines
Text by Paul Fellers

From mid-January to Feb. 4th, a total of 8 guided field trips to Mosaic phosphate mines plus the Mosaic Homeland Park were visited to observe bird life there.  Local trips included 38 individuals from the Polk Bird Club and 36 from Lake Region Audubon.

Birding records of note in checklist order included: up to 3,000 American White pelicans, 2 Brown Pelicans (twice), 150 Great Egrets (twice), Roseate Spoonbills, 100 Glossy Ibis, 122 Wood Storks, 1,000 Green-winged Teal, 5 N. Pintails (twice), 4,000 N. Shovelers on 1/16, 35 Gadwall, 9 Canvasbacks (twice), 2,000 Lesser Scaup, 4 Bufflehead, 400 Ruddy Ducks, 2 male Redhead ducks on 2/4, 12 duck species on 1/28, 6 Bald Eagles (3 on nests on 1/6 and 1/18, 10 N. Harriers (several males seen over the season), on 2/4 the LRAS group watched in awe as a magnificent Peregrine Falcon dove on hundreds of shorebirds nearby—apparently just for the heck of it as it flew off after making no attempt at taking a bird, 9 Black-bellied Plovers on 1/28 (and 2 on 2/4), 290 Am. Avocets, 6 Black-necked Stilts, 2 Dunlin, 60 Stilt Sandpipers, 5,000 Least Sandpipers, a whopping 3,000 Long-billed Dowitchers (on 1/28—the highest no. for the period), 3 Royal Terns, 200 Black Skimmers (whole period), 4 Great-horned Owls (all on nests), 2 great-crested Flycatchers (2/4), 10,000 Tree Swallows (on 2/4), 3 American Pipits, N. Parula (twice), 4 Black-and-White Warblers (2/4), and Ovenbird (twice).

Many thanks are due Mosaic Phosphates for allowing us on their properties,
and Mrs. Diana Youmans who set up the trips and made possible the great lunches provided to us on each trip.  In all, 118 species were noted for the period, with about 90 recorded on each trip.  Lake Region Audubon on 2/4 recorded the highest number, 96.

Redhead Duck
Least Sandpiper
Black-bellied Plover

115 Lameraux Road ∙ Winter Haven, Florida 33884 (863) 259-8497