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Saturday, April 01, 2006

St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge

Made it to St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge today, in the Florida panhandle, after a long day's drive out of South Florida yesterday. Spent today there, it was beautiful and filled with birds. There are many habitats there including a wooded area near the visitor's center that feature's large Live Oaks draped with Spanish Moss.

There are vast marshes and mudflats to look at through the scope. We saw Least Bitterns, all the herons, swimming Clapper Rails, and many shorebirds including, Dunlin, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers and others, including this Willet in flight.

"Boater-tailed" Grackles were sitting on every sign. Just joking, they are called Boat-tailed Grackles, a large species of grackle that holds its long tail in "V". They are actually breeding there at St. Mark's, and we saw female Boat-tailed Grackles collecting nesting material.

An incredible Bald Eagle flew over carrying a fish,

then this alligator appeared. Why did the 'gator cross the road? I don't know but we didn't stay around to find out. Tomorrow we head north.

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