Sunday, April 5, 2009

Three Lakes WMA, Kissimmee - 31 Mar 2009

Our last full day here in Lakeland. I wanted to hit a local birding area that contains some endemic birds, and the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in nearby Kissimmee looked to be close enough for a half-day trip. The area is noted for its populations of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, as well as local populations of Crested Caracara. The nearby Prairie Lakes Unit offers a 5-mile wildlife drive and access to Jackson Lake and its many Bald Eagles.

Unfortunately for me I didn't know that I'd have to drive north to Orlando and south on the Florida Turnpike to reach the area. So, even though I left at 7:30 am I didn't reach the area till well after 10am, too late to see any RC Woodpeckers. It also didn't help that the area I searched was open for Turkey Hunting. However, the day wasn't a total loss.

While driving along Canoe Creek Rd. we saw several pairs of Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Bluebirds, and a Crested Caracara that appeared along the roadside. After driving past it, I slowly turned around and drove back to where it was sitting in the grass. After a few pics from the car, the bird flew up onto a fence post and posed nicely for a few more pics before flying off into the woods. This was a bird I'd been trying to photograph for a long time, and I finally succeeded.

As we entered the campground at TLWMA we were greeted by screaming Bald Eagles flying overhead and several more Turkey Vultures soaring with them. In the distance I could hear a Bachman's Sparrow singing its glorious song, while a White-eyed Vireo sang from a nearby tree.

We drove through the campground and about a mile down the road where Turkey hunting was going on. The man at the hunting station told us that we'd be ok as long as we stayed on the road. Outside of hearing Eastern Towhees and more White-eyed Vireos, we saw no signs of woodpeckers. I did see several Wild Turkeys on the road, which was odd given the number of hunters nearby.

Since it was getting late in the morning we had to head back to Lakeland. Though the trip was not w/o its disappointments I did get my Caracara photos and will know better to get here before dawn next time so that I have a better chance for the woodpeckers and sparrows.

1 comment:

Charles Owens Gallery said...

Incredible Creasted Caracara...now who is killing who:)

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