West Pasco Audubon

West Pasco
Audubon Society

Chapter News

Audubon of Florida News Blog

Chapter News

June Challenge 2014
Day 1: 45 birds on the way to breakfast.
Laurie and I were up early and headed out to do birding and breakfast before my afternoon tee time.
17 birds in the back yard and the highlight was a Black Skimmer fishing on the pond.
Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Wood Stork, White Ibis, Anhinga, DC Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Northern Cardinal, Bluejay, Common Grackle, BT Grackle, Fish Crow, American Crow, Laughing Gull, Muscovey Duck, Moorhen(17)
Sun Toyota:
Glossy Ibis, Killdeer, Eastern Blue Bird, Mottled Duck, Least Tern, Pigeon/Rock Dove, Sand Hill Crane
Holiday Park:
Osprey, Loggerhead Shrike, House Sparrow(28)
Anclote pier:
Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Gray Kingbird, Tricolor Heron, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret in both white and blue morph fishing just up from the pier, Brown Pelican, R.W Blackbird, Monk Parakeets, Mocking bird, Starlings(40)
Green Key:
White winged Dove, Ground dove, Great Blue Heron, Yellow Crowned Night Heron(45)
Not counted one probable Priarie Warbler (it was mostly yellow)
6/1 afternoon
Tufted Titmouse, Black Crowned Night Heron, Red Shouldered Hawk, Great Crested Flycatcher, Hummingbird, Green Heron, Red Bellied Woodpecker(52)
Turkey Vulture, Downey Woodpecker, Pie Billed Grebe, Swallow Tailed Kite, Common Loon, Green headed Mallard(58)
Carolina Wren, 6/7 Starkey Park Bird Walk
Chimney Swift, Wood Ducks, Yellow Throated Warbler, Blue Gray Gnatcher, Ruby Throated Humming bird (dupe), Carolina Chickadee, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Parula (66)
6/8 Power Line Rd trip
Burrowing Owl, Eastern Meadowlark, Red Tailed Hawk, Purple Martins, Red Headed Woodpecker, Black Necked Stilts, Black Belly Whistling Duck, Kestrel (74)
6/9 Starkey bike trail
White Eyed Vireo, Brown Headed Nuthatch, Yellow Throated Vireo, Eastern Towhee, Pine Warbler (79)
6/10 Mitchel Blvd:
Roseate Spoonbill (80)
Brown Thrasher
6/12 Sun Toyota:
Greater Yellowlegs (82)
Pileated Woodpecker
6/15 Old Post Road and Green Key
American Oystercatcher
Horned Grebe (85)
6/17 Publix Land O Lakes HWY 54
Limpkin (86)
6/22 Fivay RD:
Canada Geese (87)
Anclote pier:
Willet (88)
Starkey Park 7AM:
Wild Turkey (89)
6/26 Starkey Park Bike trail
Bob White
Common Yellow Throat
Common Night Hawk (#92)
Cecila Rd: Black Hooded Parakeet (#93)
J Mike Kell

Feb 2 2013
A great day in West Pasco. Eighteen hardy souls braved the frigid 45 degree weather and were rewarded with great looks at more than 25 species of birds very active in the trees on our morning walk at Starkey Park. This afternoon forty people showed up to hear the very interesting and engaging talk by University of Florida Professor Katie Sieving talk about the effects on birds and conservation of the fractured landscaped resulting from human development. What connections are needed to allow the wildlife to migrate and move form parcel to parcel.

CBC 2012
The 24th West Pasco CBC was held on 29 Dec 2012 with more than 40 observers in as many as 20 parties (seven parties were out all day). We reached the tentative total of 170 "countable" species, with six others observed during count-week. Surprisingly, we found no Short-billed Dowitchers, a species we had never missed previously; that was the only "bad" miss. Highlights included four species new to the CBC: one Black Tern (no public access), three Razorbills (two at Hudson Beach and one at Gulf Harbors beach), four Red-breasted Nuthatches (at Key Vita Nature Park), and Clay-colored Sparrow (count-week at Anclote Gulf Park). All major rarities were photographed.
I am very proud of what the participants of the past West Pasco CBC have accomplished, especially in light of the CBC's early beginnings: the first published New Port Richey CBC (using the same circle) tallied 76 species in December 1970 (we exceeded that total by 99 species in January 2009!). Below are the species totals of the West Pasco CBCs and their ranking among all other Florida CBCs over the past 12 CBC seasons. Yes, we have a CBC circle with a great diversity of habitats and many conservation areas, but so do many others Florida CBCs. I think the success of the West Pasco CBC is due equally to geography, participation by many top-notch birders (for 20 or more years in a few cases), and the superb scouting and organizing of the parties by Ken Tracey.
113: 170
112: 171 (1st)
111: 170 (1st)
110: 169 (2nd, behind Jacksonville, tied with Merritt Island N.W.R., St. Petersburg, and Zellwood-Mount Dora)
109: 175 (1st)
108: 164 (1st, tied with Cocoa)
107: 167 (1st, tied with Merritt Island N.W.R.)
106: 171 (1st)
105: 164 (2nd, behind Merritt Island N.W.R.)
104: 162 (1st, tied with Jacksonville)
103: 166 (2nd, behind Jacksonville)
102: 159 (2nd, behind Jacksonville)

Thanks to all of this season's participants.

Best regards,
Bill Pranty
Bayonet Point, Florida
West Pasco CBC compiler

The National Audubon Christmas Bird Count
What is the Christmas bird count? The fun of a scavanger hunt. The thrill of competition and the best of Citizens Science. One day in Christmas week is picked and for 24 hours all the birds seen in the 15 mile diameter circle are counted. The number is the most seen at any one time in a location. If you see one cardinal at three different times during the day in the same place it is still one cardinal. The fun is finding as many birds and as many species as possible in that 24 hour period. Birds heard can be counted if identifible. So at 1 AM people are out listening for owls. The Christmas bird count has been ongoing for 112 years. It represents 112 years of data about birds. Where they are and where the aren't.
The circle gets divided up in to areas and teams search their area for the birds. Scouting is done in the weeks before to locate places where the birds like to gather. In the last several years it is becoming obvious from the count that the birds are staying farther north for the Winter. This would coincide with global warming. Whether it is or isn't is still out but no question the birds are moving. Come join a team. You do not need to ID the birds. People are needed to record the numbers. People can count in their back yard and turn that in to Ken Tracey kftracey@verizon.net.
West Pasco bird circle is centered on Magnolia Valley Golf Course and extends into the gulf a couple miles. At 2 PM some of us will board the Magic Dolphin and sail the Gulf looking for birds and ducks within our Circle. You are welcome to come ride along. Contact Mike Kell (jmkell@verizon.net) if you want to join a team or ride the boat.

The fall season begins.
The fall season is off to a great start.  We participated in Pasco EcoFest which was a success.  We had two interesting talks at October and November meeting. Our Starkey morning nature walks continue to be well attended.  See the schedule for times and dates. 
At the end of last season we started a Bluebird project.  The web site has been update with information about existing Bluebird boxes in Starkey park that were installed in 2009.  We have those ready for the new nesting season to start in February.  We have added two boxes at Seven Spring Golf course and seeking permission to start two additional sites.
Come join us on one of our walks or programs.

Mike Kell

Christmas Bird Count 2011

Hello All,

I wanted to convey my thanks to all who helped out on our WPCBC count on Dec 30th.

I hope you all saw some new or interesting birds that day and I wanted to let you know that because of your help our total numbers are impressive again this year.>
We had 54 people in the field and received 25 backyard reports. Our species total is 171, with a total of 53,500 birds seen! (+two count week birds) This year we added two new species to our circle bird list. Coincidentally we found two each of the new two species. Two Painted Bunting males were seen at two different feeders about 4 miles apart. I have attached a photo of mine from Lake Lisa Park of a Painted Bunting, as one of the sightings was approx 2 blocks from that park. The other new species was of two Saltmarsh Sparrows. One was found by Dave Gagne's team along Strauber Memorial Hwy the other was found by John Mangold out in the state park; his photo is attached. I also attached John's photo of one of the Seaside Sparrow he found count day, at first glance I thought "Dusky" Seaside Sparrow because of it's very dark coloring! Of course we know that subspecies is extinct. Jon Greenlaw has looked at the photo and says this coloring is near typical for Scott's, although it is certainly one of the darkest birds I have seen out there.
The first big boat trip for the count was very successful with 29 birders going out. They took hundreds of photos and in those we did find a Great Black-backed Gull. Our record numbers of 175 Common Loons and 160 Horned Grebes were a direct result of the trip. Outstanding was the 16 American Oystercatchers found by the boat on the piers in the Cotee River, a bird we sometimes miss because of no access to those resting piers.

Our backyard feeder reports were responsible for 3 species in our count total. Painted Bunting, Hummingbird species, and Budgerigar.>
The apparent trend of fewer Bachman's Sparrows, only 2 this year from Serenova, may mean that the southern part of the Starkey Wilderness area no longer has good nesting territory for that once reliable Pine Flatwood species that could be found almost to the Education Center.

From our own Starkey Ranch territory I noticed that some ranching practices can have a lot to do with the quantity of bird species found. The Starkey ranch pastures were overgrown with weeds and grasses from 2 to 7 feet tall. Our high counts of Eastern meadowlark, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and even the two Vesper Sparrows would have not been there if the pastures had been mowed.

When I looked at our previous count year of 2005 when we had 171 species I was struck by the big difference in the quantity of birds then, only 11,400 compared to our 53,500 this year. The big counts of birds this year are a result of the great increases in Yellow-rumped Warbler, Tree Swallow, and American Robin.

Some other species that achieved all time count highs were Wild Turkey 110, Anhinga 300, Common Gallinule 380, Sandhill Crane 190, and Northern Cardinal 200.
The apparent trend of Northern Rough-winged Swallows wintering further north was confirmed when Dave Goodwin's team found 3 of them.

Thanks again for your time and help.

Ken Tracey


Gulf Park -- Key Vista walk Nov 19, 2011

PascoEcoFest Bird Walk this morning.
Perfect weather for our morning walk at Gulf Park to Key Vista.
Magnificent views of Horn Grebe's were the highlight for me.

42 species observed plus one owl heard but not identified:
Osprey, Northern Harrier, American Bald Eagle, Double Crested Cormorant, Royal Tern, Caspian Tern, Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork
Blue Jay, Pie Billed Grebe, Brown Pelican, Willet, Sanderling, Semi Palmated Plover, Western SandPiper, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Little Blue, Tri Color Heron, White Ibis, Oyster Catcher, Whimbrel, Pie Billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Great Egret, Towhee, N Mocking Bird, N. Cardinal, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Swamp Sparrow, Chickadee, Palm Warbler, Yellow Crowned Heron, Black Capped Night Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Mourning Dove, Rock Pigeon, Turkey Vulture

Werner Boyce Walk 11/12/11

Birds were fairly active at the Scenic Dr. entrance to Werner Boyce Springs state park. Seven people joined us for this mornings cool walk. This birds list was fairly good with a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker being the most unusual species. 47 species total and a good show of warblers across street in parking lot while we waited on the park to open. Later a drive down to Brasher park at low tide with lots of wading birds. Seen: Red Shouldered Hawk, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird, Boattailed Grackle, Common Grackle, Mourning Dove, Yellow-rumped Warbler (lots), Palm Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Common YellowThroat Warbler, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Cardinal, House Wren, Carolina Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Gray Catbird, American Crow, Fish Crow, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Downey Woodpecker, Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, Blue Jay, N Mocking Bird, Loggerhead Shrike, Belted Kingfisher, Mallard, Muscovey, Common Moorhen, Pie billed Grebe, Woodstork, Anhinga, Double Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, White Ibis, Tricolor Heron, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Willet, Brown Pelican, Laughing Gull, Ring Billed Gull, Osprey, Red Shouldered Hawk, Kestrel, Turkey Vulture