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Field Trip report: Pondhawk Natural Area

This morning two intrepid birders, Luke and Fred, joined leader Ben Kolstad on a chilly walk through one of the nicest natural areas in southern Palm Beach County: Pondhawk. Located on Spanish River Blvd (apologies to those of you who were searching for the entrance on Yamato!) right next to the city library, this concrete trail is part of a fairly large recreational space just west of I-95. The setting is beautiful, and the city and county ERM have done a wonderful job managing the site. For those more inclined to jog or cycle around the water, Blue Lake on the north connects to another lake south of Spanish River Blvd, making a loop that must be over a mile and half in circumference (if you believe my bike’s GPS).

However, this morning the north wind slicing over Blue Lake prompted the party to hurry past the lake, checking out six mottled ducks (one obvious Mallard hybrid, the rest looking like bona fide MODU) and one Blue-Winged Teal while on a mission to cross the pedestrian bridge and reach the shelter of the tree line.

Along the way we passed a killdeer on the lakeshore (a first for me; normally I see/hear them overhead but don’t see them on the actual shore). There were the typical waterbirds: cormorants, anhingas, a great egret, a wood stork. The typical flying waterbirds were present as well: a Forster’s tern, two other tern species that wouldn’t give us good looks, and right at the end of the trip, a Ring-billed Gull.

After entering the natural area proper, the number of species declined somewhat on this cold morning, although there were relatively large numbers of gnatcatchers, palm warblers, yellow-rumpeds, and a common yellowthroat. But at the observation platform over the southern basin marsh, a pair of painted buntings (a gorgeous male and the plainer green female) stayed on the edge of the sawgrass long enough for everyone to get good looks at them.

From the wetlands (lake and marsh) we transitioned to upland habitats and a pine scrub. There were few birds present, but the habitat looked good for raptors (hard to believe no kestrel was staking a claim anywhere), woodpeckers, and your various wood and edge habitat birds. The scrub area burned in a wildfire nearly five years ago, and it was astonishing to see how high the vegetation is already–they’ve roller chopped it once or twice since the burn, and the fetterbush and saw palmettos are already approaching chest height (I’m taller than many a birder, so perhaps I should say 5 to 6 feet instead). A fine example of what lack of fire does to increase fire danger…

From the scrub we continued on into the mesic hardwood hammock, but as the birds weren’t plentiful, we eschewed the dirt path through the pine woods, opting to remain on the secure, wheelchair accessible trail throughout.

A total of 22 [update: 23; forgot the WISN] species turned up, listed below.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 1
Mottled Duck  6     (incl. one mallard x modu hybrid)
Wood Stork  1
Double-crested Cormorant  20
Anhinga  4
Great Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Common Gallinule  5
Killdeer  1
Wilson’s Snipe 1
Ring-billed Gull  1
Forster’s Tern  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  2
Fish Crow  4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  10
Northern Mockingbird  5
Common Yellowthroat  1
Palm Warbler  20
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
Painted Bunting  2     /m/f
Common Grackle  4
Boat-tailed Grackle  24

Hope to see more of you in south county next month when we head to the companion site, Yamato Scrub: the two southernmost of ERM’s three-dozen-plus natural areas.

ASE Issues a Full Page Open Letter in Town Crier on Development in the Agricultural Reserve

Audubon Society of the Everglades is launching a public awareness campaign to keep the public abreast of the rapidly evolving threats to the preservation of farmland in the Agricultural Reserve. Below is the first of many future updates.

____________________________________________

Why Audubon Is Fighting for Sound Development Practices in the Agricultural Reserve

The Audubon Society . . . → Read More: ASE Issues a Full Page Open Letter in Town Crier on Development in the Agricultural Reserve

February 2015 Kite is now online

The February 2015 issue of the Everglade Kite is now available online.

Vote/1 Implementation – Make your voice heard before Jan 20

(For full report click here http://fl.audubonaction.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=62722&em_id=50641.0&pgwrap=n)

From the Audubon Florida Advocate

Make your voice heard. Tell the Florida Legislature that Amendment 1 calls for renewed state spending on water and land conservation.

The Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation committee met on Wednesday, January 7 before a standing room only crowd and heard a staff . . . → Read More: Vote/1 Implementation – Make your voice heard before Jan 20

Jan 8 – 2nd Thursday “Leader’s Choice” Field Trip DETAILS!

Instead of LOOKING at birds, this month we will PROTECT our birds by assembling together at the Ag Reserve Hearing at 9:30 am in West Palm Beach. Palm Beach County’s Ag Reserve lands protect the vital Loxahatchee Refuge by acting as a buffer between development and natural Everglades environment. Print off suggested talking points here . . . → Read More: Jan 8 – 2nd Thursday “Leader’s Choice” Field Trip DETAILS!

URGENT CALL to ATTEND Thurs Jan 8 Ag Reserve Hearing – NEED ALL OF YOU!

January 8, 2015 Hearing Time and Location: 9:30 a.m. Governmental Center, 6th floor Commission Chambers, 301 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach. Be sure to ask a staff person when you arrive for a card to indicate you want to speak. Write the name “Valencia Cove” at the top of the card where it . . . → Read More: URGENT CALL to ATTEND Thurs Jan 8 Ag Reserve Hearing – NEED ALL OF YOU!

Jan 10 James Currie Fundraiser is full – call Linda 586-854-0145 if you want to be on waiting list

Our fund raiser at STA 1E with James Currie will start at 7:00 am. The gates will open at 6:30 am. We will drive around the water impounds as usual, stopping to observe and discuss the birds we see. We will car pool into 6 vehicles. There will be 23 people plus James making a . . . → Read More: Jan 10 James Currie Fundraiser is full – call Linda 586-854-0145 if you want to be on waiting list

January 2015 Kite is now online

The January 2015 issue of the Everglade Kite is now available online.

POSTPONED Ag Reserve Meetings – Dec 17, 19, and Jan 9 – need ASE member support!

(Dec 16) Please be advised that due to a second scheduling conflict, the January 9th Agricultural Reserve Roundtable is POSTPONED. The tentative new date is Tuesday, February 17th; we anticipate the session will be scheduled for most or all of the day. Notice of the new date and specific times will be provided as . . . → Read More: POSTPONED Ag Reserve Meetings – Dec 17, 19, and Jan 9 – need ASE member support!

Tuesday January 6, Monthly Meeting and Lecture “Bird Island” by Greg Braun

Monthly MEETING and LECTURE January 6 “BIRD ISLAND, Florida’s Newest Critical Bird Area” by Gregg Braun, Professional Consulting Ecologist

Join us Tuesday, January 6, 7:00 p.m. (earlier meeting time this year) as Greg Braun speaks to us about Bird Island.

Greg Braun, who was instrumental in establishing the newly protected and restored Bird Island, . . . → Read More: Tuesday January 6, Monthly Meeting and Lecture “Bird Island” by Greg Braun

2015 January Bird of the Month Bald Eagle

January Bird of the Month – Bald Eagle From Ben Kolstad’s article in the January Kite:

Even if no one can spell its taxonomic name without triple-checking it, everyone is familiar with Haliaeetus leucocephalus, the official bird and animal of the United States of America. This iconic raptor is widespread across the continent nowadays, . . . → Read More: 2015 January Bird of the Month Bald Eagle

DEC 11 – 2nd Thursday “Leader’s Choice” Field Trip DETAILS!

Paul, Parrots and other Miami Exotics!

Dec 11, 2015 . . . → Read More: DEC 11 – 2nd Thursday “Leader’s Choice” Field Trip DETAILS!

Dec 15 Monday 7pm Author Presentation at Pine Jog

An Author Presentation By: James Kushlan & Kirsten Hines on Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens Monday, December 15, 2014 – 7:00 pm

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS: Pine Jog Presentation dec 15 2014

Tuesday December 2, Annual HOLIDAY POT LUCK DINNER and LECTURE “Parrots in South Florida – Meet the Parrots” by Paul Bithorn

Annual HOLIDAY POT LUCK DINNER and LECTURE “Parrots in South Florida – Meet the Parrots” by Paul Bithorn

Tuesday, Dec 2, Dinner 6:00 p.m. Meeting & Lecture 7:00 p.m.

Paul Bithorn

Paul Bithorn, a Miami native, has led birding field trips for Tropical Audubon Society, as well as many environmental and civic groups for . . . → Read More: Tuesday December 2, Annual HOLIDAY POT LUCK DINNER and LECTURE “Parrots in South Florida – Meet the Parrots” by Paul Bithorn

2015 Bird of the Month List – Raptors Seen in Florida

selected by Clive Pinnock, who gives a talk on each bird in our monthly meetings:

Birds of the Month for 2015 Raptors Seen in Florida

January: Bald Eagle

February: (Everglades) Snail Kite

March: Red-shouldered Hawk

April: Broad-winged Hawk

May: Cooper’s Hawk

June: Sharp-shinned Hawk

July: Osprey

August: American Kestrel

September: Merlin

October: Peregrine Falcon

November: . . . → Read More: 2015 Bird of the Month List – Raptors Seen in Florida

2014 December Bird of the Month Ring-necked Duck

Please see picture gallery below – if you have any pix please send to sheilaelliot@yahoo.com)

December Bird of the Month – Ring-necked Duck

From Ben Kolstad’s article in the December Kite: One of our most common winter ducks, the ring-necked, Aythya collaris, is one of those ducks that was obviously named before birding by binoculars . . . → Read More: 2014 December Bird of the Month Ring-necked Duck

Dec 2014 Kite is now online

The December 2014 issue of the Everglade Kite is now available online.

Nov 13 8am Snook Island, Leader’s Choice Second Thursday Bird Walk- Linda Humphries

November “Second Thursday” Leader’s Choice Field Trip (Linda Humphries leader) Nov 13, Thurs, 8am Join us for a morning visit to Snook Island Natural Area in Lake Worth as we look for shorebirds! Meet at 8am at the entrance to the boardwalk on the north side of Lake Worth Bridge. See you there! Questions? . . . → Read More: Nov 13 8am Snook Island, Leader’s Choice Second Thursday Bird Walk- Linda Humphries

from Audubon Florida — Vote/1 Amendment 1 APPROVED!

Dear Audubon Society of the Everglades

Voters today approved Amendment 1. After two years of volunteer petitions, thousands of contributions, and great effort at the polls, we did it!

Voters made a decision to invest billions in protecting Florida’s water and land. We will leave a true legacy for future generations. . . . → Read More: from Audubon Florida — Vote/1 Amendment 1 APPROVED!

Tues Nov 4, 7 pm (earlier this year!) Monthly Meeting & Lecture “Wading Bird Science and Monitoring: The Cornerstone of Everglades Restoration” by Mark Cook, PhD

Monthly MEETING and LECTURE November 4 “”Wading Bird Science and Monitoring: The Cornerstone of Everglades Restoration” by Mark Cook, PhD

Tuesday, November 4, 7:00 p.m. (earlier meeting time this year! Refreshments at 6:30 pm. )

Mark Cook, PhD

Join us Tuesday, November 4 7:00 p.m. (earlier meeting time this year) as Mark Cook, . . . → Read More: Tues Nov 4, 7 pm (earlier this year!) Monthly Meeting & Lecture “Wading Bird Science and Monitoring: The Cornerstone of Everglades Restoration” by Mark Cook, PhD

November 2014 Kite is now online

The November 2014 issue of the Everglade Kite is now available online.

2014 November Bird of the Month Northern Shoveler

Please see picture gallery below – if you have any pix please send to sheilaelliot@yahoo.com)

November Bird of the Month – Northern Shoveler

From Ben Kolstad’s article in the November Kite: (coming soon).

November’s bird of the month is another duck in the subfamily Anatinae, Anas clypeata. The ducks in this . . . → Read More: 2014 November Bird of the Month Northern Shoveler

Tues Oct 7, 7 pm (earlier this year!) Monthly Meeting & Lecture “Bird Banding Basics and Current Local Research on Painted Buntings” by Nancy LaFramboise

Monthly MEETING and LECTURE October 7 “Bird Banding Basics and Current Local Research on Painted Buntings” by Nancy LaFramboise

Tuesday, October 7, 7:00 p.m. (earlier meeting time this year! Refreshments at 6:30 pm. ) **********Please note we will meet in the regular room tonight!***********

#gallery-4 { margin: auto; } #gallery-4 .gallery-item { float: . . . → Read More: Tues Oct 7, 7 pm (earlier this year!) Monthly Meeting & Lecture “Bird Banding Basics and Current Local Research on Painted Buntings” by Nancy LaFramboise

successful ASE CONSERVATION advocacy – Sugar Hill Company Town development proposal

(October 3, 2014) ASE Letter Advocating against Sugar Hill Development – SFWMD recommends AGAINST the development project as detrimental to Everglades Restoration SFWMD_comment_letter sugar hill (September 25, 2014) Letter ASE wrote/signed letter (see pdf for included chart sugar hill sep 25 2014) to advocate prevention of building company town Sugar Hill in Everglades restoration . . . → Read More: successful ASE CONSERVATION advocacy – Sugar Hill Company Town development proposal

Tuesday Sept 16 6:30 pm – Vote/1 open phone town hall w Senator Bob Graham

Florida Conservation Coalition <smarts421@gmail.com> Amendment 1 Telephone Call with Senator Bob Graham

On Tuesday, September 16th, Florida’s Water and Land Legacy is hosting a telephone conversation with Senator Bob Graham to discuss Amendment 1, the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment.

Join the call at 6:30 pm to find out how Amendment 1 will help . . . → Read More: Tuesday Sept 16 6:30 pm – Vote/1 open phone town hall w Senator Bob Graham

October 2014 KITE is now on-line

The October 2014 issue of the Everglade Kite is now available online.

Conservation advocacy works! TAMIAMI TRAIL project awarded $20 million by DOT

On April 29, 2014, the ASE board approved delivery of an Advocacy Letter Supporting Tamiani Trail – September 12, DOT successfully passed the $20 million project U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces $20 Million TIGER Grant for Florida’s Tamiami Trail

DOT 84-14 Florida

MIAMI – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony . . . → Read More: Conservation advocacy works! TAMIAMI TRAIL project awarded $20 million by DOT

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 21 starts at noon CLIMATE DAY OF ACTION – DELRAY BEACH

CLIMATE DAY OF ACTION – DELRAY BEACH – SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 21 2014 We are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate disruption, and the last generation that can do something about it. Join us on Sunday, September 21 for 2 events as we demand effective action to address the challenges of climate . . . → Read More: SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 21 starts at noon CLIMATE DAY OF ACTION – DELRAY BEACH

Sept 11, Thurs, 4:30pm – “Second Thursday” Leader’s Choice Field Trip (Paton White)

September “Second Thursday” Leader’s Choice Field Trip (Paton White leader) Sep 11, Thurs, 4:30pm Join us for an afternoon visit to Snook Island Natural Area in Lake Worth as we look for migrating shorebirds! Meet at 4:30pm at the entrance to the boardwalk on the north side of Lake Worth Bridge. See you there! Questions? . . . → Read More: Sept 11, Thurs, 4:30pm – “Second Thursday” Leader’s Choice Field Trip (Paton White)

2014 October Bird of the Month American Wigeon

Please see picture gallery below – if you have any pix please send to sheilaelliot@yahoo.com)

October Bird of the Month – American Wigeon

From Ben Kolstad’s article in the October Kite:

According to Arthur Cleveland Bent, the name “wigeon” or “widgeon” is what hunters back in the day would call duck species . . . → Read More: 2014 October Bird of the Month American Wigeon