Thomas Creek – Specialty Breeding Species

This morning Marie and I decided to kayak up Thomas Creek from the boat launch area at Thomas Creek Preserve in search of some of the localized breeding species like Hooded Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. We got to the ramp just before 8AM on a pleasantly cool morning and headed out. If you head right downstream, it eventually takes you into the saltmarsh and becomes fairly tidal; heading left takes you further upstream and into the hardwood swamp; that’s where we headed.  (eBird list here).

Kayaking Thomas Creek

This area is very beautiful, serene, and fairly unlittered (all things considered). We didn’t see much in terms of wildlife (no snakes, alligators, or turtles), but did have a few Yellow-crowned Night-Herons along the way. I was worried about bringing my good camera, so these shots are with my lesser Nikon and thus the images are not something I’m very proud of.

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron

About a mile upstream, we started hearing Prothonotary Warblers singing to add to the incessant singing of Hooded Warblers, which had been serenading us the entire morning. Unfortunately, the numbers of Prothonotaries seems to be “down” here compared to previous years, but perhaps we just went a little early in the season.

Prothonotary Warbler singing

A little further along we started to hear Acadian Flycatchers, and I managed a really terrible picture of one and then recorded one calling. As bad as these recordings are, they’re significant because they’re the earliest Acadians ever recorded in Duval County!

Acadian Flycatcher

That picture is bad, but notice those long primary projections! Who needs to see the rest of the bird? 🙂 Guess it’s a good thing I can review my own eBird reports, huh? (Yes, I was recently asked about that as if I just approved anything I wanted to invent; the important thing is that I actually document almost everything to make it verifiable).

We also saw a scattering of gorgeous “Spider Lillies” along the way, which would’ve made the outing great regardless of anything else.

Spider Lily

So, we managed three of the target species, and missed on two stretch goals (Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks and Swainson’s Warblers).

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