Visit your favourite destinations
|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
A HOLIDAY IN FLORIDA (9th to 23rd April 2000),
Alastair Rae and Ann Feltham
Florida was magic, and we didn't even visit Mickey Mouse. We did see the Everglades, brightly coloured American warblers, the Kennedy Space Center and lots more besides. For three-quarters of the time we followed our own itinerary. This enabled us to include non-birdwatching activities. The other three days - perhaps the highlight of the trip - were spent on an organised trip with American birdwatchers, visiting the Dry Tortugas. It was a good balance for a holiday.
Birdwatching and Us
We are keen birdwatchers, living in London and going out, probably, about one weekend a month. We have been on a number of overseas birdwatching holidays, including two to North America - Massachusetts in October 1994 and California in October 1996. We had thus seen birds from both sides of the continent, but neither spring migrants nor the Florida specialities.
The Books We Used
Our field guides were: Eastern Birds by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton Mifflin); and the Collins Pocket Guide Birds of North America. This latter was a recent purchase. The Americans on the Dry Tortugas trip all used Eastern Birds and / or the National Geographic Society's Field Guide to the Birds of North America (Third Edition). They had not seen the Collins Guide before (though one of the leaders was an Ornithological Consultant to it) but, on looking through it, commented that the explanations did not equal those in the NGS book. Next time we go to North America we will take the NGS Third Edition.
Before leaving for Florida we had tried in vain to find a general Florida wildlife guide. Those covering the whole of North America did not adequately cover the Caribbean species to be found. Whilst at Corkscrew Swamp we bought the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida (ISBN 0-679-44677-X) which was just what we had been looking for, being useful for plant, mammal, butterfly, reptile and even fish identification. (Similar guides are available for other parts of the US.)
For sites we used the indispensable A Birder's Guide to Florida by Bill Pranty (1996 - American Birding Association). This is available in the UK from The Bird and Wildlife Bookshop, 8 Royal Opera Arcade, London SW1Y 4UY (020-7839 1881) and elsewhere.
We also used information we obtained through Steve Whitehouse's Foreign Birdwatching Reports and Information Service, 6 Skipton Crescent, Berkeley Pendesham, Worcester WR4 0LG (01905 454541); from magazine articles and through looking at the brochures of bird tour companies which organise trips to the region.
For general information and planning non-birding activities we used Florida - the Rough Guide and Hidden Florida (Ulysses Press) together with web searches. Our map was Florida Kummerly & Frey 1:700000, perfectly adequate in the countryside, but not in Miami where a map showing more of the streets plus the junction layout would have been helpful.
The Places We Went
Directions to sites can be found in A Birder's Guide to Florida, and the page numbers are given.
Sunday 9th - Lunchtime flight to Miami arriving 6pm. Grackles, Mourning Doves and a Mocking Bird in the Alamo car park. After getting lost, we eventually found our pre-booked hotel in Miami Beach.
Monday 10th - Awake early so we went to the beach before breakfast. The art deco hotels looked prettier in pastel than they had in the previous night's neon. Saw Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns on the beach and our first White Ibis flying over.
After breakfast we made the mistake of travelling the slow route (endless traffic lights) along the coast instead of the fast Route 95 to the Arthur R Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, p212. We arrived at 11am which did not leave us enough time to do justice to an outstanding reserve. The short woodland trail introduced us to Spanish moss, bromeliads, and our first alligator and Red-bellied woodpecker as well as a racoon which posed on the boardwalk. The marshland was covered with a haze of blue pickerelweed and had a fantastic array of birds including Little Blue Heron, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Anhinga, two Sandhill Cranes, two Red-shouldered Hawks at a nest, a Black-headed Stilt and a Loggerhead Shrike. (We found out later that one of the best places in Florida to see Anis is around the furthest rectangular pool from the entrance. This is quite a distance and we did not get that far.)
North via Routes 441 and 98 before stopping for lunch and a picnic spot overlooking Lake Okeechobee where it is joined by the St Lucie Canal. Saw our first Brown Pelicans and Double Crested Cormorants of the trip as well as our only Lesser Scaup - two females. On north again (passing gun shops, personal injury lawyers and innumerable churches) to Yeehaw Junction, and then east on Route 60 to St Johns Marsh, p183. (There is now a proper car park here.) Lots of herons, Ospreys nesting on every available tree and then, just as we were about to move on, two Snail Kites, one of which flew across the dyke only yards away. Drove to Cocoa Beach for the night.
Tuesday 11th - Up early to spend the morning at the Kennedy Space Center, which is actually located inside Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. As well as being stunned by the huge size of the Saturn rocket and nostalgic over the first moon landing, we saw plenty of birds on our "time off". The drivers on the buses which take visitors around the KSC point out the birds (and 'gators) as well as the Rocket Assembly Building, launch pad et al. Thus, we saw a "lifer", Roseate Spoonbill, as well as an adult Bald Eagle perched near its nest.
After lunch we drove the considerable distance off Merritt Island and back on again to the entrance to the wildlife drives, p177. We saw a lot of shorebirds including American Golden and Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper and Willett, as well as Ruddy Duck and Reddish Egret. On Black Point Wildlife Drive we saw dozens of Blue-winged Teal as well as a Solitary Sandpiper and Eastern Kingbirds near the observation tower. On the road back, near the entrance to the hammock trails, we saw two Florida Scrub Jays perched on a wire.
Wednesday 12th - Off to Kaliga Park, St Cloud, p154. Besides the 'gator, proudly pointed out by a local, this park on the southern edge of East Lake Tohopekaliga boasted Ring-billed Gulls, a Killdeer, lots of Savannah Sparrows, Green Heron, our first Palm Warbler, Snipe, a pair of Purple Martins nesting in a broken street lamp, Tree Swallow, Pied-billed Grebe, an Anhinga, Least Bittern, and identifiable and calling Fish Crows. Not bad!
Next, we headed off south down Canoe Creek Road - a supposed dead cert. for the prairie species. It was good - Wild Turkeys near the trees, Sandhill Cranes and a distant Swallow-tailed Kite. Turning onto Joe Overstreet Road we saw, just as the book said, Eastern Bluebirds on the wires. Near the end of the road we also saw a Great-crested Flycatcher and a juvenile Bald Eagle. At the landing on Lake Kissimmee there was a male Cardinal, a Forsters Tern and Black-necked Stilt.
After a dash back to St Cloud, and lunch at Subway, we drove via the Florida Turnpike to Ocala Forest, p97. Arriving there, we found it difficult to know exactly how to "work" the forest. We found the marked Red-cockaded Woodpecker holes near Lake Kerr, but it was too early to wait for the birds and there were no walking trails. We did, however, see Rufous-sided Towhee and Red-headed Woodpecker. Moving on to the junction of the 314 and 86 we parked the car and walked the unmetalled road to the bend where the trees looked right for the RCW. Although we stayed until it was getting quite dark, the best we found was a pair of Downy Woodpeckers. Night in Silver Springs.
Thursday 13th - Up to greet the dawn at a small park by the bridge from Silver Springs to Ocala Forest. Very frustrating, lots of bird noises we could not identify. Our eventual total was just three birds - a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Carolina Chickadee and the humbug treecreeper otherwise known as a Black-and-white Warbler.
After breakfast we headed south to Lakeland. Florida Southern College (+1-941 680-4110) there has the biggest collection anywhere of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is well worth a visit if you have even the slightest interest in 20th Century architecture. Although this had been planned as a non-birding activity, the College is by the side of Lake Hollingsworth. The Lake had about a hundred White Pelicans, a very large number of Dunlin, as well as Mallard, Glossy Ibis and Lesser Yellowlegs. Chimney Swifts flew overhead as we parked at the College.
After spending some hours at the College we continued south and, beyond Sebring, turned east on Route 98 to the Burrowing Owl site at Lorida, p165/6. We saw two owls and a Brown Thrasher. Continuing we could not find Driggers Road and the pond the book mentions, the only likely road had a canal alongside. There was a huge roost of Red-winged Blackbirds here.
We understood from the ABA book that there was accommodation
at Lake Placid. We couldn't find any but, after asking at a library, continued
south for a few miles until we came to a Ramada Inn. Exploring in the area later
we found that the Inn is next to a lake with a huge heron roost and we watched
the birds fly in. After dinner we heard a Whip-poor-will.
Friday 14th - Up at 6am to go to the Venus Flatwoods Preserve, p168, for the RCW. It was pouring with rain so instead we had breakfast at the Inn hoping it would stop. (Our waitress told us it never rained in April, but she was delighted it had as her horse's field had turned to dust.) The rain appeared to be easing so we drove to the Preserve, only to find it getting heavier. So ended our chance to see RCWs, Pine Warblers, Bachman's Sparrows and Brown-headed Nuthatches. Dipped - we were leaving their habitat.
We headed on to Rainey Slough, p169. Our spirits lifted when we spotted an extremely bedraggled and doleful-looking Barred Owl on a wire. There was a Loggerhead Shrike nearby and two Bobwhites by the roadside. Not too bad a total from the car in the pouring rain! By the time we reached the Slough the rain had eased to the occasional spit. We emerged from the car and saw Purple Galinule, Sora Rail, Marsh Wren, Killdeer, Solitary Sandpiper and Blue Heron.
After the Slough we turned east on Route 74, determined not to miss out on Crested Caracara. We saw two - one perched in a bush by the roadside, the other taking off from a roadkill. It had started raining harder again so we went for coffee and cinnamon somethings in the Burger King in Immokale. Definitely not the most prosperous place in Florida, but we saw a White-winged Dove there. Still pouring, so we decided to do a driving trail in the Big Cypress Preserve rather than go to Corkscrew Swamp as planned. The attractions of Janes Scenic Drive eluded us (unless you have to go many miles along the trail to find them), but linking the 12 miles of public roads, p200, we saw plenty of herons, Ospreys, Red-shouldered Hawks galore, a Barn Swallow, a flock of Wood Stork, a Golden-shafted Flicker, a Great Crested Flycatcher and an Eastern Bluebird.
By now the unseasonable rain had, finally, stopped and after another Subway lunch we headed to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, p203, arriving at about 3pm. Although the last admission to the Sanctuary is 5pm, we didn't have to leave until 7pm. It was so good we needed nearly all that time to walk the 2.25 mile boardwalk. Despite the "conservation preachy" noticeboards, it must rank as one of the top reserves we have ever visited with its different cypress, lake and sawgrass habitats. Besides the dozens of 'gators (a small one thwacked the boardwalk which shuddered) the stars for us were the Pileated Woodpeckers. We also saw Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow and Black-crowned Night Herons, and dozens of the usual herons, cardinals and catbirds. On leaving, we headed to Fort Myers Beach for the night.
Saturday 15th - After breakfast we headed off for Sanibel Island, p193. ABA says low tide is best. We would say it is definitely not worth going there at high tide. Although the causeway had some coastal birds, the only birds on the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge besides the usual herons were some female Red-breasted Mergansers.
Feeling we had wasted a morning, we headed back to Fort Myers Beach, p194. We walked south until, when we were about to give up, we spotted a roped off area some way ahead. Continuing on we came to one of the best spots for shorebirds of our trip. There was a Least Tern colony, Piping Plover, and several Wilson's Plovers, as well as half a dozen Magnificent Frigatebirds overhead.
Back in the car and pushing south we stopped off at Big Cypress Bend, p198, where we saw Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher and Tufted Titmouse. Drove to Florida City for the night. An unidentified nighthawk flew across the road just north of Homestead.
Sunday 16th - Off down the keys to John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park, p248. The trails were disappointing for birds, but the tropical hardwood one was good for identifying tropical trees. The "coral story" at the Information Center was excellent. We stopped off at a couple of sites further along the Keys, nothing much except eccentric Crab-like shiney orb weaver spiders.
In Key West we went to the Botanical Garden, p259, where we saw a Summer Tanager and an Ovenbird. We joined other birders at the Florida Keys Community College (a really stunning building) for the nighthawk watch. Only a distant bird that was not calling was seen. We later learnt that we were still a couple of weeks too early to be sure of seeing Antillean Nighthawks with any certainty. We did see a Common Ground-dove. The night was spent on the "Yankee Freedom" prior to our dawn start for the Dry Tortugas.
Monday 17th - At first light we set sail for the Dry Tortugas seeing amazing flying fish and a Southern Bottle-nosed Dolphin en route as well as lots of Northern Gannets and two Audubon's Shearwaters, one of which gave excellent views. The "Yankee Freedom" passed alongside the first Dry Tortugas island, Hospital Key, to let us have a good look at the Masked Boobies there.
We landed at Garden Key, almost entirely occupied by the 19th Century Fort Jefferson. In the way of most things military, it was obsolete before being finished. However, it does now have a use as a birdwatcher's paradise. In the shelter of the Fort there were hirundines of all sorts, Cattle Egrets, Merlins swooping on everything, warblers galore, a Lark Sparrow, and an Indigo Bunting as well as a Chuck-will's-widow in a Fort window.
The skiff took us to the offshore islands, even more amazing with 15,000 Sooty Terns, Brown Boobies, Brown Noddies, Brown Pelicans, American Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, Peregrine and over a hundred nesting Magnificent Frigate Birds, some of them displaying their red throat pouches. Playing at being David Attenborough is magic! Watched the sun race down beneath the horizon and then spent the night moored off Garden Key.
Tuesday 18th - Merlins eating cuckoos, more warblers (including an absolutely beautiful Worm-eating Warbler), a Louisiana Waterthrush in the magazine, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Common Nighthawk perched in a tree.
In the afternoon we sailed from Garden Key to nearby Loggerhead Key, even less shade. Two female Shiny Cowbirds were nearby as we landed, and someone found a "Cuban" Short-eared Owl hiding in long grass. American Kestrels and Peregrines circled around; a Broad-winged Hawk perched in a tree and we Europeans spotted an odd-looking bird flying overhead which one of the Americans identified as an Upland Sandpiper. Back near the landing spot a wonderful Yellow-throated Warbler was showing itself.
The "Yankee Freedom" passed several navigation buoys on its way back to Garden Key. Roseate Terns were sitting on one of them. On the land again we saw the Upland Sandpiper, now on the Fort lawn, a Veery and a fabulous male Painted Bunting, before eating our "cook out" meal. Once it was dark we used our torches to see strange sea creatures, including sea cucumbers and sand-dollars, in the Fort's moat, before an impromptu astronomy lesson and a final night in our bunks on the boat.
Wednesday 19th - Up for a last stroll around Garden Key. The new birds included Bobolink (we spotted it!), a Prothonotary Warbler and a Northern Waterthrush. Just before lunch we headed back to Key West, arriving in the late afternoon. We looked for, and Alastair saw, White-crowned Pigeon on the corner of Flagler and 17th streets. Half the boat trip people were there. They, and we, continued to the Florida Keys Community College. Alas, no nighthawks, but we chatted to other American birders there.
Spent the night in Key West, a very strange town.
Thursday 20th - Back, after breakfast, to Flagler and 17th where Ann finally saw two perched White-crowned Pigeons. Our "target" for the morning was Mangrove Cuckoo on Sugarloaf Key, p257. (Note: Don't be tempted to try to reach the spot via the northern end of the 939. There is a gate across the road. You must get there via the Sugarloaf Lodge entrance to the road.) We spotted the Tortugas tour people from the boat driving away from the Key and, as it was early, guessed they had struck lucky.
Arriving at the spot we met a Californian bird photographer who confirmed the party had seen the birds, but he hadn't. Two minutes later he spotted one, giving us credit for his good luck, and drew our attention to it. We watched for about 15 minutes, getting superb views of this essentially Caribbean bird, and then another turned up for a split-second mating. Black-whiskered Vireos calling all around, and we also saw a Veery.
On to the Everglades, p234, and Flamingo Lodge where we were to stay for our remaining days in Florida. On the drive in we stopped at Mrazek Pond - lots of Wood Storks and some Roseate Spoonbills as well as the usual herony suspects. The Nine Mile Pond did not have many birds, but there was an enormous 'gator posing for photographs on the bank.
Checking into our room we found we had a view of Florida Bay, and of Ospreys circling overhead. We watched the sun go down at the nearby Eco Pond - again the usual suspects.
Friday 21st - Up for sunrise at the Eco Pond. Marsh rabbits everywhere (and not even scampering when we approached). Reddish Egret and a female Painted Bunting were the star birds. After breakfast we tried Mahogany Hammock (not much around, bird-wise) before taking the Florida Bay boat trip. A juvenile Bald Eagle flew over as we waited, but the trip itself was disappointing, just a few shorebirds and lots of White Pelicans on one of the islands. We later heard that the evening cruise is best for wildlife as the herons fly out to the islands in the Bay to roost.
After a civilised lunch in the restaurant at Flamingo, we tackled the Snake Bight trail in the late afternoon. Lots of anoles (lizard-like creatures with throat fans), zebra longwing butterflies and golden-silk spiders, the latter with huge webs. On the trail through the tropical hardwood trees we saw a Black-and-white Warbler, two male Black-throated Blue Warblers, a female American Redstart, an Indigo Bunting and a White-crowned Pigeon. On the ranger's advice, we had timed our walk to reach the sea a little before high tide (this is contrary to the ABA's suggestion). It was great to get to the Bay - a respite from the heat and mosquitoes, plus lots of birds - a dozen Roseate Spoonbills, American Avocet in breeding plumage, Least Sandpiper, Marbled Godwits, Spotted Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Plover and much more besides. Snake Bight is a definite "must" for any birdwatcher visiting the Everglades, but a strong insect repellent is essential.
Saturday 22nd - We took the 8am Backwoods boat. It may not have been worth the time and money except that we had our only sighting of an American Crocodile (had we known where to look we might have been able to see it from the marina) and spectacular views of two Swallow-tailed Kites.
Back on land we walked the Bear Lake Trail. This is similar to Snake Bight except that it has a lake, rather than the sea, at the far end and, when we were there, lots more mosquitoes. (Apparently, Florida has thirteen different biting kinds!) The birds were, as we were coming to find in all the hardwood hammocks, intermittent. We saw a Common Yellowthroat and had our first really good view of a Black-whiskered Vireo (lots around - just didn't usually see them - listen for House Sparrow-like song). The same kind of insect life as in the other hammocks plus lots of buckeye butterflies.
Another relaxed lunch at Flamingo and our only view of Black Skimmers during the trip. In the afternoon we drove back towards the entrance to the Everglades, hoping that by leaving the mangroves and getting into the grassland we might have a better chance of seeing Limpkin. We didn't. There was very little to be seen from the Pa-hay-okee Lookout, although a huge Florida soft-shell turtle posed for photos at the roadside nearby. The Anhinga Trail boasted lots of the eponymous birds, herons and 'gators galore, a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-heron and a Least Bittern.
Sunday 23rd - Sunrise at the Eco Pond where Cardinals, Indigo Buntings and a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak made a colourful array. After breakfast, and much indecision, we decided to make a dash north to Shark Valley, our last chance for Limpkins. We arrived there with about two hours to spare before driving to Miami, no time to take the tram or cover the whole circular route. We learned from the ranger that she never saw the birds on the right-hand end of the path as you face south, but that she had seen a family party some way out on the left-hand side a few days earlier. About half an hour out, after seeing pools heaving with herons, we scanned a grassland area and there was a Limpkin, carrying a snail. Three more Limpkins were following on behind. Before we arrived back at the entrance, very happy, we had also seen two Least Bitterns and a viceroy butterfly.
Flights and cars
We pre-booked our Heathrow-Miami flights (British Airways) and arranged car hire through Trailfinders (020-7938 3939). All was very smooth except finding the Alamo office in Miami. The signs at the airport leave a lot to be desired and in the end we flagged down a passing Alamo bus. We had a small car, but wondered later whether it would have been worth upgrading to a jeep -- most of the locals seemed to drive them. Although apparently the price of petrol (gas) has recently been steeply increased it is still dirt cheap by UK standards.
Information about the Dry Tortugas trip was obtained from Wings website (wingsbirds.com) and then booked through Sunbird (01767 682969). The trip was full so it is worth making the arrangements well in advance. The food on the boat was excellent, but the bunk accommodation was quite cramped (and we got just about the best area). If you value your privacy and creature comforts, it may not be for you. If pushed for time you might consider a seaplane day trip.
Food and Lodging
Using the internet, we had pre-booked accommodation for our first night, in Miami Beach, for the next two nights at Cocoa Beach, for Key West and Flamingo. In retrospect, Miami (for an address for immigration and somewhere to go from the airport) and Flamingo (we booked over three months in advance and got the fourth to last room) were essential. We would definitely recommend Flamingo Lodge (www.flamingolodge.com, +1-941 695 3101 phone, +1-941 695 3921 fax) the only accommodation in the Everglades. We could probably have found somewhere in Key West although there were several "no vacancy" signs.
We definitely should not have pre-booked Cocoa as there were plenty of vacancies, for less money than we paid, and some within staggering distance of food. Also, if anywhere to stay can be found, Titusville might be a better centre for visiting the KSC and Merritt Island. Where we didn't book we looked for places near to restaurants, not as easy as might be thought, so we could have wine with our meals.
The best places we ate were Puerto Sagua, a Cuban restaurant at 700 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach (we would probably have appreciated it even more if we had not been jet-lagged); the Mutineer Restaurant on the junction of US1 and SW 344 Street in Florida City; and the restaurant at Flamingo. The fish dishes were just wonderful there. A breakfast spot, the American equivalent of a good British "greasy spoon" is the Kountry Kitchen at
1115 North Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island. This road is also known as Route 3, and is very near the entrance to the KSC.
The total cost of the holiday - everything from airfares, to drinks, to the Dry Tortugas trip - was about £1,500 each.
Things we would have done differently, or hindsight is wonderful!
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) - Loxahatchee,
St Cloud, Eco Pond
Audubon's Shearwater (Puffinus iherminieri [assimilis]) - en route Dry Tortugas
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) - en route Dry Tortugas
Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) - Dry Tortugas
Brown Booby (S leucogaster) - Dry Tortugas
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) - common at coast and wetlands
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) - numerous on freshwater wetlands
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) - Lakeland, Flamingo
Brown Pelican (P occidentalis) - common at the coast and on Okeechobee
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) - Fort Myers Beach, Dry Tortugas
Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) - Merritt Island,. Eco Pond
Tricolored Heron (E tricolor) - common on freshwater wetlands
Little Blue Heron (E caerulea) - common on freshwater wetlands
Snowy Egret (E thula) - common on freshwater wetlands
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias [cinerea]) - common on freshwater wetlands
Great [White] Egret (Casmerodius albus [A alba]) - common on freshwater wetlands
Cattle Egret (Bulbulcus ibis) - Dry Tortugas
Green Heron (Butorides virescens [striatus]) - common on freshwater wetlands
Yellow-crowned Night-heron (Nyctanassa violacea) - Corkscrew Swamp, Anhinga Trail
Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) - Corkscrew Swamp
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) - St Cloud, Anhinga Trail, Anhinga Trail, Shark Valley
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) - Big Cypress, Mrazek Pond, Eco Pond
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) - common
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Loxahatchee, Merritt Island, Lakeland, Mrazek Pond
Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja) - Kennedy Space Center, Mrazek Pond, Snake Bight
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) - Merritt Island
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) - Lakeland
Mottled Duck (A fulvigula [platyrhynchos]) - Loxahatchee
Blue-winged Teal (A discors) - Loxahatchee, Merritt Island
Northern Shoveler (A clypeata) - occasional
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) - Okeechobee
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) - Sanibel, Snake Bight
American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) - common
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - common
American Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) - Canoe Creek, near Flamingo
Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) - St Johns Marsh
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - Kennedy Space Center, Flamingo
Northern Harrier [Marsh Hawk] (Circus cyaneus hudsonius) - Loxahatchee
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) - common
Broad-winged Hawk (B platypterus) - Dry Tortugas
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) - common
Crested Caracara (Polyborus plancus) - near Rainey Slough
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) - Dry Tortugas
Merlin (F columbarius) - Dry Tortugas
Peregrine (F peregrinus) - Dry Tortugas
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) - Canoe Creek
Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) - Rainey Slough
Sora Rail (Porzana carolina) - Rainey Slough
American Purple Gallinule (Porphyrula martinicus) - Rainey Slough
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) - common in wetlands
American Coot (Fulica americana) - common in wetlands
Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) - Shark Valley
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) - Loxahatchee, Canoe Creek
American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) - Dry Tortugas
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus [himantopus]) - Loxahatchee, Canoe Creek, Dry Tortugas, Eco Pond
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) - Snake Bight
American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) - Merritt Island
Grey [Black-bellied] Plover (P squatarola) - Merritt Island, Dry Tortugas, Snake Bight
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) - Merritt Island, Snake Bight
Wilson's [Thick-billed] Plover (C wilsonia) - Fort Myers Beach
Killdeer (C vociferus) - St Cloud, Rainey Slough, Shark Valley
Piping Plover (C melodus) - Fort Myers Beach
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) - St Cloud
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) -I Snake Bight
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) - Dry Tortugas
Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) - Dry Tortugas
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) - Merritt Island
Lesser Yellowlegs (T flavipes) - Lakeland
Solitary Sandpiper (T solitaria) - Merritt Island, Rainey Slough
Spotted Sandpiper (T macularia) - Snake Bight
Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) - Merritt Island, Fort Myers Beach, Snake Bight
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) - Sanibel, Dry Tortugas, Snake Bight
Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) - Merritt Island, Snake Bight
Sanderling (Calidris alba) - Fort Myers
Semipalmated Sandpiper (C pusilla) - Snake Bight
Least Sandpiper (C minutilla) - Merritt Island, Snake Bight
Dunlin (C alpina) - Merritt Island, Lakeland, Snake Bight
Pomarine Skua [Jaeger] (Stercorarius pomarinus) - Gulf
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) - St Cloud
Herring Gull (L argentatus) - common
Laughing Gull (L atricilla) - common
Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) - Miami Beach, Dry Tortugas, Flamingo
Sandwich Tern (S sandvicensis) - Dry Tortugas
Roseate Tern (S dougallii) - Dry Tortugas
Forster's Tern (S forsteri) - Canoe Creek
Least Tern (S antillarum [albifrons]) - Merritt Island, Fort Myers Beach
Sooty Tern (S fuscata) - Dry Tortugas
Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus) - Dry Tortugas
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) - Flamingo
Rock Dove (Columba livia) - common
White-crowned Pigeon (C leucocephala) - Key West, Snake Bight
Eurasian Collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto) - common
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) - common
White-winged Dove (Z asiatica) - Immokalee
Common Ground-dove (Columbina passerina) - Key West
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) - Big Cypress Bend, Dry Tortugas, hammocks In southern Everglades
Mangrove Cuckoo (C minor) - Sugarloaf Key
Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) - Lorida
Barred Owl (Strix varia) - near Rainey Slough
[Cuban] Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - Dry Tortugas
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) - Dry Tortugas
Chuck-will's-widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis) - Dry Tortugas
Whip-poor-will (C vociferus) - Lake Placid (H)
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) - Lakeland, Dry Tortugas
Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) - Merritt Island, Dry Tortugas, near Flamingo
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) - Ocala
Red-bellied Woodpecker (M carolinus) - common
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) - Ocala, Corkscrew Swamp
Northern [Yellow-shafted] Flicker (Colaptes auratus) - Big Cypress Preserve
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) - Corkscrew Swamp
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) - Canoe Creek, Corkscrew Swamp, Eco Pond
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) - Merritt Island, Dry Tortugas
Grey Kingbird (T dominicensis) - Dry Tortugas, Eco Pond
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) - St Cloud
Purple Martin (Progne subis) - St Cloud
Sand Martin [Bank Swallow] (Riparia riparia) - Dry Tortugas
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) - Dry Tortugas
Cliff Swallow (H pyrrhonota) - Dry Tortugas
Cave Swallow (H fulva pelodoma) - Dry Tortugas
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) - Rainey Slough
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) - Corkscrew Swamp
Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) - common in Everglades
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) - common, especially built-up areas
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) - Lorida
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) - Canoe Creek
Veery (Catharus fuscescens) - Dry Tortugas, Sugarloaf Key
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) - Big Cypress Bend
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis) - Silver Springs
Tufted Titmouse (P bicolor) - Big Cypress Bend
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) - Loxahatchee, Rainey Slough
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) - Loxahatchee
Florida Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) - Merritt Island
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) - common
Fish Crow (C ossifragus) - St Cloud
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - occasional
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - towns
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) - common in Everglades
Black-whiskered Vireo (V altiloquus) - common in mangroves, mostly heard
Tennessee Warbler (Vermivora peregrina) - Dry Tortugas
Northern Parula (Parula americana) - Dry Tortugas, Eco Pond
Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) - Dry Tortugas
Cape May Warbler (D tigrina) - Dry Tortugas
Black-throated Blue Warbler (D caerulescens) - Snake Bight
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) - Warbler (D coronata coronata) - Dry Tortugas
Yellow-throated Warbler (D dominica) - Dry Tortugas
Prairie Warbler (D discolor) - Bear Lake
Palm Warbler (D palmarum) - common
Blackpoll Warbler (D striata) - Dry Tortugas
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) - Silver Springs, Snake Bight, Bear Lake
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) - Dry Tortugas, Snake Bight
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) - Dry Tortugas
Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus) - Dry Tortugas
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) - Key West, Dry Tortugas
Northern Waterthrush (S noveboracensis) - Dry Tortugas
Louisiana Waterthrush (S motacilla) - Dry Tortugas
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) - Bear Lake
Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) - Key West, Dry Tortugas
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) - Ocala
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) - St Cloud
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) - Dry Tortugas
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) - Dry Tortugas, Eco Pond
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) - Dry Tortugas, Snake Bight, Eco Pond
Painted Bunting (P ciris) - Dry Tortugas, Eco Pond
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) - Dry Tortugas
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) - common, especially near freshwater
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) - common on prairies, roadside edges
Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) - common near freshwater
Common Grackle (Q quiscula) - very common
Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) - Dry Tortugas
Brown-headed Cowbird (M ater) - Flamingo
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) - Dry Tortugas