(Above) One of a dozen Black-necked Stilts at the Bailey Tract on Saturday, April 1.  (Below) With the water level low, the Bailey Tract is a busy place. Photos by Sam Huntington
(Above) One of a dozen Black-necked Stilts at the Bailey Tract on Saturday, April 1. (Below) With the water level low, the Bailey Tract is a busy place. Photos by Sam Huntington

One Black-necked Stilt is generally enough to get the average Sanibel birdwatcher's blood pumping. Pack 12 Black-necked Stilts into the Bailey Tract for the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society's Saturday morning bird walk and it's a recipe for Bird of the Day.

Black-necked Stilt was Bird of the Day Saturday, April 1, but many others could have claimed it. The lack of rain in 2016 has dropped the level of the ponds at the Bailey Tract and that has attracted the birds in large numbers.

The pond levels levels are very low due to the drought and that brought the birds,” Hugh Verry, who organizes the walks for San-Cap Audubon, said.”We had Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets  in great numbers. Tri-colored Herons, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Black and Yellow-crowned Night Herons were well represented.”

Added to the wading bird show were Anhinga, Cormorant and Pied-billed Grebes. Not to be left out were the Common Gallinule, Coot, Mottled Duck and Blue-winged Teal. Also not to be omitted, a Roseate Spoonbill flew over.

But, the star of the show was Sanibel's most beautiful shorebird, the Black-necked Stilt,” Verry said.

The Stilt went back-to-back as Bird of the Day. Ten appeared the previous Saturday at 'Ding' Darling NWR, when it was also Bird of the Day.

The walk began with a Pileated Woodpecker, San-Cap Audubon's mascot bird, peering in a hole in a tree. If the Pileated was thinking about nesting there it had to think again. At the end of the walk, the 21 birders discovered that the hole was occupied by a Screech Owl.

Winding Up at the Lighthouse

Saturday's walk at Bailey Tract was the penultimate walk of the season. The series of walks concludes Saturday, April 8, at the Sanibel Lighthouse with the hope of finding a number of migrating birds. The walk begins at 8 a.m. with the Fishing Pier parking lot as a starting point. Non-resident beach parking fees apply. The walks are for birders of all levels and are guided by experienced birders from San-Cap Audubon.

Results

Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Bird Walk

Bailey Tract, 'Ding' Darling NWR

April 1, 2017 8-10:15 a.m.

Protocol: Traveling

1.5 mile(s)

Comments: sunny and warm, high 70s

37 species

Mottled Duck  8
Blue-winged Teal  57
Pied-billed Grebe  3
Double-crested Cormorant  3
Anhinga  3
Brown Pelican  21
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  36
Snowy Egret  59
Little Blue Heron  5
Tricolored Heron  3
Green Heron  6
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1
White Ibis  17
Osprey  2
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Common Gallinule  12
American Coot  7
Black-necked Stilt  12     Bird of the Day
Least Sandpiper  2
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Common Ground-Dove  1
Mourning Dove  4
Eastern Screech-Owl  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  4
Great Crested Flycatcher  4
White-eyed Vireo  2
Fish Crow  3
Carolina Wren  1
Gray Catbird  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
Palm Warbler  1
Prairie Warbler  2
Northern Cardinal  4
Common Grackle  1