Celery Fields Trip Report, January 19, 2019
On a cool, sunny, breezy day, our field trip to Celery Fields got off to a great start. On the way to the Visitor Center, a pair of Sandhill Cranes were close to the road. At the Visitor Center parking area we were greeted by a dozen or so Nanday Parakeets. A couple of early scout Purple Martins were seen at the martin house. Bronzed Cowbirds came regularly to the feeder all day in the company of Brown Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and Boat-tailed Grackles, affording a number of the 21 participants a life bird, as well as ample opportunity to compare these birds up close. The Palmer and Raymond Road Gazebos were active, a Purple Gallinule popping up briefly as well as Blue-winged Teal, Mottled Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga and all the usual herons and egrets either in the wetland or flying above, the most entertaining being Green Heron. American Bald Eagles and Osprey soared by. Other raptors seen included Red-shouldered Hawk and American Kestrel as well as both vultures. A walk along the berm across the south cells to Phillipi Creek brought us closer to many wading birds as well as open skies where Northern Harriers were hunting, Tree Swallows were active, and a Brown Pelican flew by. Roseate Spoonbills and Limpkins flew over or landed for closer views. All the expected herons, egrets, dozens of White Ibis and Glossy Ibis flew around or landed. The breezy day kept passerines under cover, with Palm Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Eastern Phoebes the most active. Eastern Meadowlarks were seen in the field across Raymond Road, and Loggerhead Shrike on the power lines, Common Ground Dove in the thickets. 46 species of birds were seen. Staff from Sarasota Audubon were on duty to assist us. The trip ended with a picnic lunch at the Visitor Center.