St. Marks NWR, 3/4/2012

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Lighthouse at St. Marks NWR
On Sunday afternoon I was driving home from Dothan, AL, and I decided to "drop by" St. Marks on my way home.  Well, it's about an hour out of the way, but it just had to be done.  I spent about an hour and a half in the refuge, and other than one particular crazy driver, it was a nice restful break from highway driving.  St. Marks is beautiful, and I did see a fair number of birds there, but most of them were pretty far away, and I had very few keeper photos.  Most of them merely helped me identify birds in the distance.  I saw my first-of-the-year Black Crowned Night Herons and Canvasback ducks, all too far way to photograph.  But three female Bufflehead did put on a show for me, and photographically, they were my saving grace.  An Eastern Phoebe and Belted Kingfisher posed for me as well.

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Belted Kingfisher
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Eastern Phoebe
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Perhaps the best highlight was a Bobcat that walked right by my car.  He hid in the bushes just after I pointed my camera at him, but I did get a couple photos of him.  The photo below was in low light, and my shutter speed was 1/60sec.  I'm surprised it came out at all.  He never looked at me, and all my photos were less than sharp, but this is the best I could get.

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Here's a list of all the species I saw at St. Marks NWR between about 5pm and 6:30pm.
American Wigeon X
Blue-winged Teal 2
Northern Shoveler 20
Canvasback 15
Redhead 4
Lesser Scaup 5
Bufflehead 5
Pied-billed Grebe 5
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Anhinga 2
Brown Pelican 2
Great Blue Heron 3
Great Egret 20
Snowy Egret 1
Little Blue Heron 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
White Ibis 5
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
American Coot 10
Lesser Yellowlegs 5
Mourning Dove 1
Belted Kingfisher 3
Eastern Phoebe 2
Tree Swallow 50
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling X
Palm Warbler X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Savannah Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird X
Boat-tailed Grackle X