Inland White-winged Scoter -- Naples, Collier County

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Posted by Vincent Lucas on 16:04:43 02/13/10

This afternoon, while running some errands, I decided to stop at the North Naples Waste Water Treatment Plant on Goodlette-Frank Rd. here in North Naples to see what I could add to the Great Backyard Bird Count. Good thing I did, because in among the Lesser Scaup was a first-year (or female not quite sure) WHITE-WINGED SCOTER! In the 15 years or so that I've birded Collier County I've never seen a White-winged Scoter, especially 3-4 miles inland on a sewage pond! As I was watching this bird, a carload of folks arrived. It turned out to be ABA board of director Dr. D.H. Michael Bowen and two others from Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Bowen was able to take some digiscoped photos of the bird which was fairly distant due to the flushing caused by the Bald Eagle. If you go, PLEASE do not park on the bridge/overpass as the collier County Sheriff's Dept. will stop you and you could get fined. Park well off the road on the right (east side) beyond the bridge as you're going north on Goodlette-Frank Rd. Here's a link to a map and directions to the North Naples Waste Water Treatment Plant:

Click on the jpeg and it will enarge. Directions from the Caloosa Bird Club website are as follows:

North Naples Waste Water Treatment Ponds -- Located between Vanderbilt Beach Rd. (to the south) and Immokalee Rd. (to the north) on Goodlette-Frank Rd. [Map]. Park well off of the bridge/overpass and walk up to the highest point on the bridge. A scope is necessary to see the various ducks (Northern Shoveler, Hooded Merganser, Mottled, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal etc.) as well as shorebirds (if any of the impoundments have been "drawn down") and wading birds in the wastewater treatment ponds to the east of Goodlette-Frank Rd. Magnificent Frigatebirds have been seen "dipping" in the water "on the fly" here in January, 2002. Black-necked Stilt, Solitary, Spotted & Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin etc. have all been recorded here. Fall/Winter birding is best. Sadly, with the events of 9/11/2001, many people (including the Collier County Sheriff's Department) have become hyper-sensitive to what they perceive as "terrorists threats." Consequently, don't be surprised if any passersby call the sheriff on their cell phone about "suspicious" behavior taking place at the North Naples Wastewater Treatment Plant. Rest assured, that as long as you are on the sidewalk and not on the plant property, you are legally allowed to be here watching birds. It might be prudent to let the sheriff's department or the wastewater treatment plant supervisor know what you are about, before you go birding here however. . . . Just to avoid hassles.

Also present today were the following species:

Lesser Scaup >25
Ring-necked Duck >6
Northern Shoveler x6
Hooded-Merganser (2 females)
Blue-winged Teal >30
Bald Eagle (immature) scared up all of the ducks including the WWSC which "dove" for cover.
Spotted Sandpiper x3
Least Sandpiper x4
Tree Swallow
Common Moorhen
Brown Pelican
Ring-billed Gull
Turkey Vulture
Common Moorhen
Wood Stork
Little Blue Heron
Mourning Dove

and a few more common species.

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