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Date:   Mon, 17 May 2004 21:03:42 -0400
Reply-To:   "James F. Flynn Jr." <jim.flynn@MINDSPRING.COM>
Sender:   Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:   "James F. Flynn Jr." <jim.flynn@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject:   The Hopkins Counties, 5/16/2004
Content-Type:   text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"

On Sunday, Earl Horn and I decided to bird Ben Hill and Irwin Cos., of which the mid 20th century bird life was documented by Milton Hopkins in a mid-1970's GOS publication, in an attempt to locate some late season Upper Coastal Plain migrants. We had very poor luck in locating what could be considered true spring transients, but we had a pretty good day birding nonetheless.

We started the day much like last Saturday, with early morning quests for nightjars on our way to Ben Hill Co., where we began at dawn. Starting in Dodge Co., we made 10 random stops along the way, finding Common Nighthawks at 2 of the stops (and adding a couple more while driving through McRae, Telfair Co.), Chuck-will's-widows at all of the stops, and Whip-poor-wills at 2 of the stops. We ended up with a respectable total of 26 Chucks, hearing three or more calling at 5 of the 10 stops. The Whips are a bit of an enigma, considering that they could be either late migrants or local breeders (the Annotated Checklist duly notes that this species is expanding the southern limits of its breeding range in the state).

Here are some of the other highlights from Sunday. There is a small facility south of Ocilla, Irwin Co., on the east side of US319 that includes what I guess is an aeration pond to treat waste water. The service road to the pond is posted so we scoped this pond from US 319. I refer to it as the "Ocilla WWT" below:

Northern Bobwhite: very vocal yesterday, found at many locations; 7 in Ben Hill Co., 13 in Irwin Co.

Double-crested Cormorant: 1 immature, Ocilla WWT.

Herons/Egrets (we didn't find any storks or ibis on Sunday): - Great Blue Heron: 8 total - Great Egret: 7 total - Snowy Egret: 6, Ocilla WWT - Little Blue Heron: 1 adult, Ocilla WWT (also, one adult flyover in eastern Turner Co. on the way back to the Atlanta area) - Cattle Egret: 29, most in Irwin Co. (also a total of 58 in Turner Co. along GA 32) - Green Heron: 2, Ben Hill Co.; 2, Irwin Co.

Swallow-tailed Kite: 1, Dickson Mill Pond Rd., Ben Hill Co.

Mississippi Kite: 1, Red Bluff Rd., Ben Hill Co.; our only Mississippi Kite the whole day, pretty disappointing.

American Kestrel: 1 male, Daffodil Rd., Irwin Co.

Common Moorhen: 2, Ocilla WWT

Shorebirds: - Semipalmated Plover: 1, Gettysburg Rd., Ben Hill Co. - Killdeer: 1, Irwin Co. - Semipalmated Sandpiper: 4, Gettysburg Rd., Ben Hill Co. - Least Sandpiper: 1, Gettysburg Rd., Ben Hill Co.

Common Ground-Dove: a surprising total of 17 for the day, found in many areas of Ben Hill and Irwin Cos.

Common Nighthawk: 5 total; 2 in McRae, Telfair Co.; 2 along GA 107, Coffee Co.; 1 along Philadelphia Methodist Church Rd., Ben Hill Co.

Whip-poor-will: 1, CR 95, Wheeler Co.; 1, GA 107, Coffee Co.

Belted Kingfisher: 1, Willacoochee River @ GA 90

Pileated Woodpecker: 2 nests found by Earl; one with at least 3 goofy-looking fledglings in eastern Ben Hill Co., one with at least 1 fledgling in Irwin Co.

Eastern Phoebe: 1, Dickson Mill Pond Rd., Ben Hill Co.; we couldn't see under the bridge to confirm nesting.

Cedar Waxwing: 5, Fitzgerald, Ben Hill Co.

Warblers (10 species): - Northern Parula (23) - Yellow-throated (2) - Pine (22) - Prairie (8) - American Redstart (2 females, Willacoochee River @ Frank Rd., Irwin Co.) - Prothonotary (6) - Louisiana Waterthrush (4, all in Ben Hill Co.) - Common Yellowthroat (28) - Hooded (5) - Yellow-breasted Chat (19)

Take care.

Jim Flynn Forsyth Co., GA ****************** ******************

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