Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, Inc.

Issue Vol. IV- No. 4

April, 2009

The Southeast Volusia Audubon Society promotes the protection of birds, other wildlife and their habitat through education and activism.

Prez Sez
Smyrna Dunes Park, Lake Ashby, Elections
There was an interesting event at the Smyrna Dunes Park a couple of weeks ago. It was a ribbon cutting ceremony highlighting the new rules for dogs using the boardwalk and including dog-related activities. At the end of the event, we conducted a bird walk of the park. We were warmly received by Joe Nolin, the Volusia County parks director, Jack Hayman of the County Council and Mayor Sally McKay of NSB. Joe was particularly anxious to tell us of the actions the county had taken to protect the habitats for the nesting and resting shorebirds. It sounded impressive but when we took the beach walk, we felt there was more that should be done. I sent him an email itemizing the things we thought they could and should do. If you want to see the email, go to our website where it is posted. The bird walk started with 31 people, certainly more than we expected and though many left during the walk, it was heartening to see that many people interested in our take on the park. Unfortunately there were not many birds because it was low tide and the number of cars and visitors on the beach was horrendous. It was a beautiful day for a walk on the beach. We had a great field trip to Lake Ashby. It started with a large group of Cedar Waxwings seen from the parking lot. One of the park maintenance staff showed us the location of two three-week old Don Picard 2009 Barred Owl chicks. That was definitely the highlight of the day. We also saw a limpkin, and that is also a treat. Check out my pics of the owls on the website too. As I mentioned last month, this next meeting will be the annual pot-luck at the Menard-May Park in Edgewater. It will also be the election of officers for the next year. We need a full slate of officers. It is time for new blood. Many of us currently serving have been in office for a long time and we are suffering burn-out. Give us a rest and determine for yourselves the direction of the club. —Don Picard

Next meeting is April 1, 2009 Annual Potluck Picnic - 5:30 p.m.

Menard-May Park, Edgewater This is our Election-of-Officers meeting.
Plenty of parking. Public welcome.
Programs & Field trips subject to change.

Field Trips
Field trips begin at 8:00 A.M. unless otherwise noted. Meet in the Market Square parking lot Edgewater, Ridgewood Ave. & 442, between Dunkin Donuts & Chik-Fil-A. There are three (3) Events this month See Field Trips p.2 Questions? Contact Gail Domroski 428-0447
Audubon members and guests are all welcome.

Venue Change Questionaire
Please let us know! Would you be more or less likely to attend meetings if they were more central to New Smyrna Beach? Would you be more or less likely to attend meetings if they were on a different evening? If yes, please specify the evening. Please send an email to

This will be the last issue of The eSkimmer for the season. We hope to see you next season with the October, 2009 issue. Enjoy your summer.

SEVAS website

The eSkimmer

April, 2009

Wandering Members
Birding in Costa Rica
I arranged a birding trip to Costa Rica with my neighbor, Tad Fyock, in February. We left Monday morning and arrived at our hotel near San Jose in time for late afternoon birding. We spent six full days and returned early the following Monday. Our guide was Jorge Fernandez of AVEnTOURS and he was terrific We started Tuesday by driving through a cloud forest and over the continental divide to the Caribbean coastal plain. We birded along the way, stopping at some of Jorge’s favorite spots, and arrived at La Selva Tropical Research Station in time for lunch. This is one of several locations run by the Organization for Tropical Studies of Durham, North Carolina. People come from all over the world to study plants, animals, insects, birds, etc. We spent two nights at La Selva and had wonderful birding. We also saw interesting reptiles and other fauna. The most exciting event of the whole trip happened on a night walk we took the second evening. Tad stepped on a 10-foot snake in the dark and we all had high pulse counts until Jorge located it with his flashlight and identified it as a non-poisonous Boa Constrictor. Thursday, we returned over the continental divide, through San Jose to Puerta Leona on the Pacific coast. Initial plan had been to make a northwesterly loop to the coast but the recent earthquake wiped out much of the road and several villages making the backtrack necessary. We passed over the Rio Sucio, where chemical-rich yellow water from a volcano flowed sideby side with clear water from the cloud forest (remember Jurassic Park). We also crossed the Rio Tarcoles, where literally dozens of crocodiles lazed about. Next day we birded in dry forest for several hours and saw a Jesus Christ Lizard walk, actually run, over water – What a thrill! In the afternoon we birded the Tarcoles by boat. Great birding but the highlight was a life and death struggle between a crocodile and an eel. The croc had bitten into a four inch diameter eel which retaliated by wrapping itself around the croc’s snout. The eel was biting the croc on the jowls and the croc was trying to get on land to suffocate the eel. The croc seemed afraid to leave the water with the boat nearby, so we moved on to let nature take its course. The next day we drove through the downtowns of San Jose and Cartago and visited a local market. We ended the day in Savegre, home of the Resplendent Quetzel. We had a good look at one male on the way in and next morning had excellent looks at two other males. Birding in the valley was excellent. Sunday afternoon, we returned to San Jose and did a bit of birding around our hotel before shutting down to pack and eat. I hoped to see 53 new birds to reach the one thousand level on my life list – I got 131. We saw a total of 216 bird species plus 8 animals and 15 reptiles. I have a (much) longer account of the trip which I will email to anyone who requests it. —Ken Gunn

Field Trips
Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, Lake Ashby and Orlando Wetlands. Feb. 21 — At the Three Lakes area we saw the primary target species of Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Whooping Crane, and added Snail Kite and Crested Caracara for good measure. Other species include Limpkin, Brown-headed Nuthatch, many Eastern Blue Birds, small flocks of Pine Warblers and singing Eastern Meadowlarks. Had good looks at Blue-headed Vireo and Wilson’s Snipe. All in all, a total of 73 species on a beautiful winter day. March 12 — At Lake Ashby we had the park to ourselves except for the park staff. A friendly and helpful park ranger showed us where to find a nest of baby Barred Owls. The babies watched us with big eyes as we watched them through our glasses and scopes. Along the boardwalk over the lake we had good looks at two Limpkin and in the wooded areas we had fun trying to identify all the small birds in the treetops. We identified 40 species overall. March 20 —On the first day of spring a group of 7 birders traveled to Orlando Wetlands Park near Christmas. American Goldfinch and Painted Bunting were seen at feeders near the new Education Center. On a leisurely walk around the impoundment we saw many birds, among them Black-crowned Night Heron, Water Thrush, Bald Eagle, both adult & juvenile, Male Northern Harrier, and the highlight of the day, a Crested Caracara with a total of 54 species for the day. April/May 2009 Trips April 4th Sat. 8 a.m.: Tomoka State Park, Ormond Beach. This Park is located near the confluence of the Tomoka and Halifax Rivers. The diverse habitats should offer good birding. April 17th Fri. 8 a.m. Canaveral National Seashore. Bring lunch etc. Spring Warblers will be our goal for this trip. May 1st Fri. 8 a.m. St Augustine Alligator Farm. Bring lunch or eat at restaurant of your choice. Trips subject to change. Call Gail @ 428-0447 for info or questions. —Gail Domroski

Officers & Chairs
President: Don Picard Secretary: Jean McNeil Treasurer: Bill Cox Newsletter: Gil Miller Programs: Ken Gunn Field Trips: Gail Domroski
386-423-4124 386-423-2334 386-428-0447 386-957-1886 386-423-2508

Membership: Richard Domroski 386-428-0447 Publicity: Marsha Cox


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