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Trip Report – Prairie Shell Creek Preserve, 1-21-23

Twenty birders arrived at the entrance of Prairie Shell Creek Preserve guided by Phyllis Cady, our Sentinel who made sure that everyone made the turn off Hwy 17. She instructed us on how to get our cars packed into a tiny parking lot. Jayne Johnson with FWC led us through the 609 acre mesic flatwoods, scrublands and tidal marsh system which is home to several Florida Scrub Jay families. We have tried to go to Pop Ash Preserve but it was knee deep in a few spots with alligators enjoying the high water! Our walk was dry and so much fun to see the Scrub Jays posing for photos! Jayne explained the life history of the Jays and she discussed the ecosystem and other wildlife within the preserve. We saw 2 families of Jays!

We walked to the lake and saw 21 bird species including the Eastern Towhee who sang to us “Drink your Tea” and the female Scrub Jay rattled her call. Sandhill Cranes, Wood Storks, Cattle Egrets and White Ibis flew over us joined by a large flock of American Robins (37). Mockingbirds, Catbirds, Gnatcatchers, Cardinals and Warblers skitter scattered around us. Anhingas, Herons and Egrets met us at the lake. A Red-Shouldered Hawk peered at us from the top of a Pine Tree and Vultures soared above riding heat thermals. Bren Curtis listed the species seen on ebird and shared the list with participants. A very nice morning!

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