TAS Bird Walk at Fortymile Bend, 4/2/22

Thirteen birders joined me today for the TAS bird walk at Fortymile Bend, on Tamiami Trail at the eastern edge of Big Cypress National Preserve. We met at the Fortymile Bend boat ramp just outside the preserve, where impressive numbers of wading birds, including Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills, were actively feeding in the early morning fog. After enjoying this spectacle for a while, we began our walk along the L-28 Levee, which forms an ecotone between the cypress swamps of the preserve and the sawgrass marshes of the Shark River Slough in Water Conservation Area 3A.

We walked about two miles to the first water control structure along the levee, stopping along the way as we spotted birds. All of the expected wading birds were present, including Limpkin, Wood Stork, Great Blue, Little Blue, Tricolored and Green Heron, Great, Snowy and Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis and Roseate Spoonbill. Other birds we saw that are typical of marsh habitat included Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant, Belted Kingfisher, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle and Common Yellowthroat. Birds we encountered that are typical of cypress swamp habitat included Mourning Dove, Red-bellied, Downy and Pileated Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, American Crow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (including one already on a nest), Carolina Wren, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Common Grackle, Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush, Northern Parula (many singing), Black-and-white and Palm Warbler and Northern Cardinal. Five birds of prey were spotted during the walk, Black and Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk and, on the way back, Swallow-tailed Kite.

An eBird checklist for today’s walk, which includes photos taken by some participants, is here . Roseate Spoonbill photo by Luis Gonzalez.