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Special Bird alert/News Items -- McFaddin NWR, April 23, 2010

During the slow part of the day April 23, I birded McFaddin NWR from the entrance up Clam Lake Road to the Intracoastal Waterway, and then west along to the Star Lake boat ramp.  The road is in excellent condition and paved most of the way to the Waterway, well maintained rock for the rest of the way.


Near the entrance there were Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows.  There were Baltimore and Orchard Orioles in the low vegetation on the side of the road.  Near the wooden bridge over 10-mile Cut, there were some muddy areas with a few Lesser Yellowlegs, a Pectoral Sandpiper, several Least Sandpipers, and some Blue-winged Teal.  After crossing the bridge and just after the oil company installation, there are some pools on the right (northeast side of the road), and they had Blue-winged Teal, Common Moorhens and a Least Bittern. The rocks along the edge of Clam Lake had at least three Spotted Sandpipers. Much of the interesting birding was along the bank of the Waterway, and especially in the vicinity of the cattle guard near the large oil storage tank.  Three Western Kingbirds were there (to add to two seen on the way there), and the Prickly Ash/Hercules Club/Toothache trees just west of the cattle guard were full of Baltimore and Orchards Orioles, a Dickcissel, a male Painted Bunting and several Indigo Buntings.  Sedge and Marsh Wrens were calling.  Further along, a King Rail got up from the side of the road, and there were many Eastern Kingbirds.  A summer Tanager added some color.  While there were many Savannah Sparrows along all the roads, most unusual were four Chipping Sparrows working the roadside edge.  Barn Swallows were almost everywhere, and of course there were Red-winged Blackbirds and Boat-tailed Grackles.  Less numerous were Belted Kingfisher, Killdeer, Blue Grosbeak.


This was a very productive way to spend the middle of the day, when the migrants in the woods tend to take their siesta.


John A. Whittle


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