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Picture-A-Week 2019 - Week 40

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My backup spots this winter, when Green Cay closes, will be Peaceful Waters, which is west of State Road 7 off of Lake Worth Road, and Arthur Marshall Wildlife Refuge, a little farther south off State Road 7 near Boynton Beach Blvd.  Both spots aren't quite as bird-dense as Wakodahatchee, but still can be good, and can net some occasional birds you won't see down at Green Cay.  Peaceful Waters often has spoonbills, big American pelicans, sandhill cranes, the rare occasional snail kite, and some wintering ducks that you rarely find elsewhere (scaups, shovelers, green-winged teals, etc)...it's usually best in the early morning or late before sunset...it can sometimes be dead in the middle of the afternoon especially if it's still hot weather.

Arthur Marshall can be rewarding, but is a much bigger, wide-open space and you can walk for miles out there to see just a few birds - the birds are also often a little more skittish around people than at Wako.  Another outside choice which wouldn't be too far for you from Singer Island is to head west on Southern Blvd all the way out to Flying Cow road, then turn south until you hit Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Wellington Wetlands.  It's also a big, wide open park that's a few miles around at least, but also can deliver some of the more rare wintering ducks and birds that don't like to come to the more populated eastern parks.

 

Do keep an eye on Green Cay just in case - they were originally scheduled to close the park in August, then delayed to September, then early October, and now mid-November.  So there's no guarantee they may not change their schedule again and actually be open when you come.  It's so close to Wakodahatchee that it's probably worth just swinging by the entrance to see if it's open - if not, just head 1 mile away to Wako.

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Thanks Justin.  I have been to Marshall (it is BIG), and Wako (at your suggestion).  I'll try the other two, and probably schedule a stop in the Everglades coming over from the west coast.

 

Green Cay also suggests Daggerwing and Okeeheelee.  Any feeling about either?

 

Two birds I did not have any luck with last year are on my radar; Woodstorks and Sandhill Cranes.

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No worries on wood storks - I'd say your chances are very high of encountering them at Wako by December.  They nest heavily there starting in January, so by December, large numbers of them start gathering.  I've already been seeing them at Wako and Green Cay the past month or so, regularly.

Sandhills are a little harder to pin down - but Peaceful Waters is probably the most reliable local spot for them.  I've run into them pretty much every year there - but just never know if they'll be out or around on the day you go.

Daggerwing is a small park behind a large county sports park - it has a nice little nature center, then a short boardwalk over pine scrub and wetland, maybe 1/4 mile.  It can occasionally get a few decent birds, but can be completely dead too...just a matter of luck.  It's not going to be anything like the Wakodahatchee experience - if you do run into a good bird or two, it may be out of 5 - 10 total birds you'll see there.  It's not a densely packed or nesting spot.

Okeeheelee is similar - often dead, but can get a good rarity.  Also has a nature center...the feeders behind the center and to the left if you go the right time of day can attract some of the desirable birds such as painted and indigo buntings, and there's a wide, stretched out dirt trail network through dry pine scrub forest with the occasional pond...much of the time, you'll be walking through pine scrub with not even a peep of an animal sound...then might get lucky and run into something.  It's also a large sports park complex with the nature center tucked deep inside.  I'd consider Peaceful Waters the best alternative to Green Cay, with Wellington Wetlands and Arthur Marshall as the next best...Daggerwing or Okeeheelee would be the occasional pop in once or twice a season just to see if anything pops up, or if there's a report of something there.

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