Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 16:27:19 -0400
Reply-To: Matt Ryan <dotmat@BELLSOUTH.NET>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Matt Ryan <dotmat@BELLSOUTH.NET>
Subject: Harris Neck
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The single Roseate Spoonbill found by my husband last Friday had turned into three spoonbills by this morning, all feeding together in Snipe Pond at Harris Neck NWR in McIntosh County. I also had good looks at a pair of Least Bitterns, who appeared to be tending a nest in a tangle of reeds on the other side of the dike from the pond. But the "pink" Ibis seen there last week has not been relocated.
Matt and I have been spending a lot of time at Snipe Pond to help US Fish & Wildlife monitor Wood Stork feeding behavior. This pond, and two others, are stocked with blue gills each fall. The fish multiply over the winter and then provide critical extra calories to the Wood Stork population during the peak breeding season.
Anyone who's been to Harris Neck in spring or summer can see that the breeding program there has been a huge success. We suspect the readily available source of food has a lot to do with it. But this may be the last year when it's available -- the USF&W regional office in Atlanta has eliminated the funds earmarked to stock the ponds from next year's budget! The refuges along the coast may be able to continue the program at some level by diverting operating funds, but it's not likely to be at the same scale the birds have enjoyed for the past several years...Two steps forward and one step back??
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