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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
FLORIDA, 30th March-10th April 2001,
Chris Johnson Des Parkin and Ray Thorneycroft
It is some 15yrs since I last went abroad birding with Chris and Des, as part of a party to Spain. Since then, together, they have birded Texas, California and Arizona in the States, Israel, The Gambia, and many widespread places throughout Europe. Both are very experienced birders. The last time I was in the United States was 45 years ago in the Mercantile Marine, so I had some catching up to do.
Planning for the trip began in Autumn 2000. Information was collected from other local birders that had made the trip and tour operator's brochures were scrutinized for sites and routes etc. Books obtained were "A Birder's Guide to Florida", by Bill Pranty, and a copy of "DeLormes Florida Atlas & Gazetteer". We worked these in conjunction with each other when sorting out routes and sites.
The Internet was used extensively. Florida birding websites were visted, and trip reports were downloaded, and scrutinized. I also started an E-mail correspondence with a birder from Tampa, and he put me onto FLORIDABIRD-L site. Both Chris, and myself subscribed to it. The first non-Americans to do so. This resulted in us getting daily information regarding birds and sites.
Field guides used were National Geographic's "Field Guide to the Birds of North America", (Third Edition) and the North American Bird Guide by D. Sibley. Both excellent books, but Sibleys' was much more comprehensive, and tended to be first choice.
FLIGHTS: - These were direct scheduled flights. Heathrow- Miami-Heathrow.
ACCOMMODATION: Three nights were pre-booked. The first night at a Fort Lauderdale "Days inn", following a late evening arrival, and immigration purposes, and two at a Key West "Days inn, before and after the Dry Tortuga trip. The rest were motels, which proved to be good value.
TRANSPORT: Pre-booked Hertz hire car. Mitsibushi Gallant. Air-conditioned and big enough for 3 people, luggage, knapsacks, tripods etc.
DRY TORTUGAS TRIP: Full day trip to Garden Key at the National Park. 70 miles from Key West by catamaran. $85 including meals, and drinks. Good value.
MEALS & FOOD: We did not stop for meals during daylight birding hours. Any meals as such were taken after arriving at the accommodation at night. These were either at fastfood outlets, or prepared meals (ham salads, chicken etc.) from the supermarket when we stocked up for the next day.
30 Mar Miami - Ft. Lauderdale
31 Mar Griffin Road Park, Ft. Lauderdale - Wakodahatchee - Loxahatchee - Belle Glade - Lake Okeechobee (South Bay - Lakeport - Jaycee Park) - Okeechobee
1 April Three Lakes /Kissimmee area (Fred's Fish Camp, Lake Marian - Canoe Creek Road -Lake Jackson - Joe Overstreet Road - Cypress Lake) - Kissimmee
2 April Reedy Lake - Lake Arbuckle State Forest - Lake Placid (Driggers Road, etc) - Archbold -Venus Flatwoods - Rainey Slough - Myakka River Park - Nokomis
3 April Oscar Scherer Park - Fort Myers - Sanibel Island - Ding Darling - Tarpon Bay - Bailey Tract - Lighthouse Park - Fort Myers
4 April Six Mile Cypress - Tarpon Bay - Ding Darling - Bunche Beach - Holiday Inn Beach -Naples - Briggs - Marco Island - Naples
5 April Fakahatchee (Jaynes Drive) - Chokoloskee - Monroe Station - US41 Disused Airboat Ride - Homestead - Everglades NP (Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo Trails - Eco Pond) - Homestead
6 April Key Largo (John Pennekamp and Florida Wild Bird Centre) - Windley Key Quarry - Marathon Golf Course - Big Pine Key - Sugarloaf Key - Key West Botanic Gdns
7 April Dry Tortugas - Key West Bot Gdns
8 April Key West Bot Gdns - Sugarloaf Key - Marathon Boat Ramp and Airport - Key Largo Botanical Site - SW216th St - Chekika - Mary Krome Park - Homestead
9 April Everglades NP (Snake Bight Trail, Eco Pond, etc) - Homestead
10 April Mary Krome Park - Krome Railroad Tracks - Kendall Baptist Hospital and area -A.D.Barnes Park - Miami Airport
Day 1 Friday, March 30th: On arrival at Miami we picked up the hire car and headed north to Fort Lauderdale to our immigration address, the Days Inn (Oakland Park). As it was dark, we booked in and then turned in, ready for an early start on Saturday morning. What we did not know was that the hotel was adjacent to a level crossing on a main railway track. The train drivers must start blowing the whistle about a mile before the crossing, and keep it going till the train is over it. This happened about every half hour during the night. At least it seemed like it. I can assure you that not all American trains sound like the "Orange Blossom Special." We staggered out, bleary eyed, and were on our way before dawn.
Day 2 Saturday, March 31st: - Our first port of call was Griffin Park. This was on Griffin Road, east of route 95, and sandwiched between the road and the perimeter fence of Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood Airport. Our target bird was Smooth-billed Ani, a decreasing species in Florida, due to habitat loss. After about 30 minutes we spotted a party of four, flitting around the bushes near the ornamental ponds. Watched them for about ten minutes, and had really good views.
We also spotted Mourning Doves, Northern Mockingbirds, Spotted Sandpiper, (without the spots), Northern Cardinal, Palm Warblers, American Kestrel (this was an extremely good looking pocket-sized raptor, with its twin vertical black bars down the face.) There were also Merlin, Black-necked Stilts, Eurasian Collared Doves, a Belted Kingfisher, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jays, the air was full of Tree Swallows, a flock of Cedar Waxwings flew over, Eurasian Starling, Yellow Throated Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Common Grackles, Boat-tailed Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Cattle Egrets, and an Osprey flew over carrying a fish. This was exciting for me, because all but five of the birds were new to me. Chris and Des settled for the Smooth-billed Ani. Apart from the birds, there were lots of butterflies, mostly yellow and cinnamon colored.
We then drove north on the 95 heading in the general direction of the Arthur R Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Preserve. We stopped off at a Winn-Dixie supermarket to stock up with eatables. In a tree by the car park we had a Blue-headed Vireo. Back on the road again, we turned onto Jog Road, a residential area, and then into the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. This translates from the Seminole language into "Created Waters". It was recommended by a birder back home who was here a fortnight previously. It turned out to be a little gem. Virtually all of it was boardwalk through different wet habitats.
Birds seen here were: Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorants, Anhinga, Least Bitterns, Great Blue Herons, Great Egret, Tricolored Herons, Cattle Egrets, Green Heron, White Ibis, Wood Storks, Mottled Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Ospreys, Sora Rail, Purple Gallinule, Moorhen, Limpkin, Spotted Sandpiper, (without the spots), Least Terns, Mourning Doves, Purple Martins, Common Yellowthroat, American Coot, Turkey Vultures, and Black Vultures.
There were Alligators in all the pools, and we also spotted 3 kinds of snake in the water. One was about three feet long, two inches thick, black with narrow white/creamy bands. We later identified this as a Florida Banded Watersnake. There were also Turtles, Terrapins, plenty of Butterflies, Dragon and Damselflies. A truly wonderful place. The Limpkin was another bogy bird out of the way.
Onwards to the Loxahatchee Preserve, We arrived sometime after midday. We had a quick scan round the Visitor Centre then went on a boardwalk trail through a really impressive stand of Cypress trees. They were really beautiful. Bird wise not too good. We only turned up a pair of Northern Cardinals.
Around the car park we had Red-bellied Woodpecker, Grey Catbird and both Common and Boat-tailed Grackles. A Raccoon was also spotted working round the picnic tables.
Out on the Preserve we spotted both Vultures, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, Ospreys, Blue-winged Teal, Killdeer and Moorhen. No small birds at all. Wakodahatchee took the shine off Loxahatchee.
We left Loxahatchee and headed for Lake Okeechobee, hitting it at Belle Glade, then traversing round the south side and heading up the Westside to Lakeside, and Jaycee Park. This is mentioned in the Bill Pranty book and also appeared on FLORIDABIRDS-L a week or so earlier. As we traversed round the lake we stopped wherever we could at boat ramps, getting moved on at one point by the local constabulary for parking in a non-designated place. At Lakeside, at the end of a small boardwalk, the scopes were used, in a very strong wind. The birds were way out on the mudflats. A man in an airboat was catching some kind of turtles in the shallow water.
Birds seen were: American White Pelicans, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egrets, Green Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Wood Storks, both kinds of Vultures, Mottled Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Ospreys, two Northern Harriers (both male and female), Red Shouldered Hawks, Moorhen, American Coot, two Sandhill Cranes, a Killdeer, Black-necked Stilts, American Avocet, Laughing Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, one Herring Gull, Caspian Terns, Forsters Tern, up to 250 Black Skimmers, Common Ground Doves, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Northern Mockingbirds, Palm Warbler, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common and Boat-tailed Grackles and Belted Kingfisher. A very good start to the trip and as it got dark we called it a day and headed for Okeechobee, staying at the Economy Motel.
Day 3, Sunday, April 1st: Early start today. Set off well before dawn for the Three Lakes Area, Canoe Creek Road, and Joe Overstreet Road. After travelling for a while we crossed another highway at Yeehaw Junction, where we stopped to check our position. After checking the map we continued on our way. Chris was driving and after a while we gradually aroused more and started to chat. A question was directed to Des sitting in the back. No answer - he must be asleep. I turn round to him. There was no Des! We turned the car round and headed 20 miles back down the road to find Des nonchalantly striding it out in the pre dawn light. Apparently, while we were checking the map he got out for a smoke.
Because of the detour we were now low on fuel. The dilapidated gas station at the junction of Canoe Creek Rd. was not yet open so we continued on our way. We turned down a side road to Lake Marion. As dawn rose a raptor was spotted in some trees. This was identified as a Coopers Hawk, which was being hassled by Red Shouldered Hawk. In a field alongside the road were 4 Bald Eagles. Three juvs and one adult. One of the juvs was holding something in its talon, which the others were after. By a dewpond in the same field, a pair of Sandhill Cranes landed, not 30 yards from us. This was good.
We carried on down the road to the lakeside, to a name that will be etched in our minds forever. "Fred's Fish Camp." Around and over the lake we counted fifteen Bald Eagles. The place was alive with them. Alongside the lake in front of us were Black and Turkey Vultures, Cattle Egrets, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Wood Storks. On the lake were White Pelicans. A flight of Black-necked Stilts passed by. An Osprey was sat in a tree by us. The air was full of Tree Swallows. A most memorable sight on a spring morning.
Turning back onto Canoe Creek Rd., we stopped by a nearly dried up creek. We spotted two Eastern Meadowlarks. Seeing these birds with their bright yellow breast for the first time is breathtaking. We also saw two Red Shouldered Hawks, a Greater Yellowlegs, a Killdeer, some Savannah Sparrows and the first Eastern Bluebird.
We carried on to the Prairie Lakes WM unit but a Turkey shoot was in progress, so we did not venture in. One Turkey had already been shot and was hanging up by the entry station. It didn't look a bit like the ones you get in the supermarket. At this time, before doing anything else, it was obvious we would need to refuel, which necessitated a 26-mile round trip up the road to St. Cloud. On the way there we had a Caracara and a flock of ten Wild Turkeys. They were shooting in the wrong place.
On returning, we drove down a track to Lake Jackson. The water appeared to be low, and there were loads of Alligators around the bank and in the water. We walked down to the waters edge where there were lots of waders. Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short billed Dowitchers, three Stilt Sandpipers and lots of Least Sandpipers, which resembled lice feeding in the short reedy grass. Both White and Glossy Ibis and two Whooping Cranes were feeding a little way off. A Bald Eagle flew over and along the shore five Red Shouldered Hawks and a Caracara were spotted. We also had the everyday birds, Grackles and Cardinal, along with a Downy Woodpecker.
We then drove back down the track and went round and parked up by the Kissimmee-Jackson Canal. We walked along the bank of the canal to a point where it entered the lake. A pair of Ground Doves were spotted which flew showing their chestnut colored wings. There was a flock of Chipping Sparrows, 7 Savannah Sparrows, Palm Warbler, Prairie Warbler, a pair of Eastern Towhees, Carolina Wren, White-eyed Vireo, American Kestrel and a Limpkin on the far bank who was having trouble walking. It was Limpkin by name, and limping by nature. We also had Tricolored Heron, a pair of Caracara flew from a Palm tree, an Orange-crowned Warbler and Loggerhead Shrike, as well as all the usual everyday birds, i.e.- both Vultures, Northern Mockingbird, Blue Jays, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mourning Doves, Common and Boat-tailed Grackles, and Northern Cardinals. Lake Jackson was a good area, appreciated by all of us.
We next drove along Canoe Creek Road, towards St. Cloud, to Joe Overstreet Road. This again was from the Bill Pranty book and was being mentioned quite often on FLORIDABIRDS-L. Just inside the road we stopped by a field on the right with a few trees in it. We started to pick birds up straight away. Two Eastern Kingbirds, three Brown Cowbirds, Pileated Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, two Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Towhee, and Bachman's Sparrow on call.
In a pine tree eating a pinecone was what looked like a large Grey Squirrel with a black mask. This turned out to be a Fox Squirrel. A new mammal for me. As we drove on we came upon some birders with their scopes up. A Bald Eagle had been feeding on a Raccoon and had been harassed off by some Turkey Vultures. The eagle was in a tree close by watching the proceedings.
Down by the lakeside it was very windy and very little was happening so we turned round and headed back to Canoe Creek Road, taking in a pair of Sandhill Cranes with two chicks along the way.
Along Canoe Creek Road, we turned left and headed down a track to Lake Cypress. We had our first close encounter with airboats here. These are very noisy machines. As we watched one come in off the lake, it came straight over a large patch of floating vegetation where some birds were feeding. These were scattered far and wide in all directions. The airboat came out of the water, across the land and straight onto the back of a trailer. Very skilful!. I think they rank alongside shotguns and chainsaws for services to the environment.
Bird wise at the lakeside, we had 30 Caspian Terns, a Forsters Tern, Lesser Yellowlegs, both Glossy and White Ibis, and a Sandhill Crane which was later seen walking around the trailers at the camping site. We also had Black-necked Stilts, Ring-billed Gulls and the usual Mockingbirds, Cardinals, and both Common and Boat-tailed Grackles.
We then drove to Kissimmee to find a motel for the night. As we drove into the courtyard of the Ventura Motel, a Swallow-tailed Kite floated overhead. First for the trip. After booking in, we went down to the lakeside (Lake Tohopekaliga) for the last hour. As we neared the lake a large green Parrot was seen in a front garden, but we were unable to identify it as we drove past. Later we heard that there is a breeding colony there. By the lake side we saw all the usual everyday birds plus Mallard, Muscovy Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Anhinga, Black-necked Stilts, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, White Pelican, Collared Dove, Purple Martins, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallow, Double-crested Cormorants, Osprey, and a Loggerhead Shrike.
Day 4, Monday, April 2nd Today, we were heading south for the Lake Placid/Venus areas and were on the roadway before dawn. How we got on the right road out of Kissimmee must have been a miracle. The roads were solid with traffic. Is this the Disneyland Dash? Definitely not the place to get out for a quick smoke.
Our first stop was approaching Reedy Lake. We headed down a road named Lake Reedy Boulevard, and stopped at a vacant building plot which had a few trees. We started to pick up birds right away - Loggerhead Shrike, Palm Warbler, Northern Parula, Least Flycatcher, Black & White Warbler, Catbird, Downy Woodpecker, a Tufted Titmouse and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Motored on to the Arbuckle Tract . By the lake, in the pine trees, we had Northern Flicker, Pine Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prairie Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Common Yellowthroat, and a pair of Great-crested Flycatchers.
We then drove along a track, which eventually joined highway 64, near the Avon Park area. Along the track we had Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Eastern Towhee, a Short-tailed Hawk circling above us, a Bald Eagle, and all the everyday birds.
Our next port of call was Driggers Road. Bill Panty's book mentioned a pond, which we never came across. It must be the drought. We drove as far as we could, and had a quick bite before heading back. Birds seen were Ospreys, a Caracara, and a female Northern Harrier.
Headed next to the Archibald Biological Station. Hoping for the Florida Scrub Jays. On getting out the car, a Great-crested Flycatcher was spotted. We walked the nature trail, but the only bird of note that was spotted was a Broad-winged Hawk. More birds were seen around the buildings. There were 6 Red-bellied Woodpeckers and a pair of American Kestrels were exchanging food. It was a small lizard. Also seen were Northern Flicker, 2 Carolina Wrens, a Downy Woodpecker, 4 Ground Doves and the usual everyday birds, but no Scrub Jays.
A man was sitting by one of the cabins strumming a guitar. We asked him where we might find the Scrub Jays. He said " a fire had swept through part of their habitat a few weeks before". He advised us to try near the tennis courts. This we did, and were rewarded straight away with very good views of two Florida Scrub Jays. Both of them were ringed.
On the road again, heading for the Venus Flatwoods Preserve a Florida Scrub Jay flew across the front of the car. On arrival we had to view from the road. Nothing was happening in the fenced off woods. In the field opposite there were a pair of Meadowlarks. There was one dead tree in the centre of the field in which I saw a slight movement and so focused in. A Red-headed Woodpecker was sticking his head out of a hole in the tree. He obliged us by flying to the ground and back again, showing off all his plumage. Three very colourful birds in as many minutes.
Onwards to Rainy Slough. Unfortunately, there was only a little water by the bridge. No wetland at all, although you could see it's winter potential. A few birds were seen -Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, some Savannah Sparrows, and a Red-shouldered Hawk.
It was again time to move on as we had a couple of hours drive northwest, to Myakka River State Park. We arrived there late afternoon. Blue-grey Gnatcatcher was spotted by the entrance. Down by the first bridge we had Osprey, Little Blue Heron and Palm Warbler. There were Alligators in the river and an Armadillo was snuffling around our feet in the grass. We then drove to the far end of the park, where we had a Swallow-tailed Kite and a Pileated Woodpecker which flew along the track. On the way back we walked a little way along a creek and there saw a herd of six feral pigs. We drove back towards the entrance, passing five Wild Turkeys, and a Raccoon.
We left a little early to find some accommodation for the night. This turned out to be harder than we thought, finally ending up at the Laurel Villa Motel, Nokomis, on the Gulf coast.
Day 5, Tuesday April 3rd: We had originally intended to return to Myakka River State Park, but we had travelled too far looking for accommodation. As Oscar Scherer State Park was just up the road we decided to start there early. We walked in the woods along a track by the side of South Creek. The first bird of note spotted was a Wood Thrush, followed by an Eastern Towhee and several Red winged Blackbirds. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were again in attendance. These are getting more common than the Mockingbirds and Grackles. We also had Carolina Wren, Palm Warbler, Mourning Doves, a Northern Parula and excellent views of a young Great Horned Owl, sat high in a pine tree across the creek. Six Wood Duck flew onto the creek and there was also a Great Blue Heron. As we were leaving an Osprey flew over. At the top of the park is an area where there are Florida Scrub Jays, but we did not go looking for them.
Time to hit the road again, travelling south to Fort Myers, and Sanibel Island. We booked into a Fort Myers "Days Inn", off route 41, at mid-day and after off-loading our luggage we hit the road for Sanibel Island.
After crossing the bridge, we pulled over onto the causeway where we had Sanderlings, Willets, Ring-billed Gulls, Royal Tern and a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull.
We continued onto the island, heading for the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This is a big preserve, and one is able to drive round making stops at will. Birds were not present in the numbers we had expected. The area is tidal and the water level was high. The new birds we had here were Black-crowned Night Heron, Reddish Egret and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers. Other birds were Ospreys, Swallow-tailed Kite, Laughing Gulls, Forsters Tern, Wood Storks, Willets, White Ibis, Tricolored Heron, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egrets, Brown Pelican, White Pelican, Belted Kingfishers, many Double-crowned Cormorants, Black-necked Stilts, Short billed Dowitcher, 2 Spotted Sandpipers (without the spots), American Crow, Pied-billed Grebe, six Blue-winged Teal, and two Palm Warblers.
We continued on to Tarpon Bay. This was a very scenic little place but with few birds so we drove back to the main road, straight across, and on to Baileys Tract. This consisted of 3 small pools with walks around them. We elected to do a walk that encompassed all of them. All the pools contained Alligators. We had the usual everyday birds, plus a Northern Parula.
Our next port of call was down at the Lighthouse. Whilst on the boardwalk there, we met a local birder by the name of Vince McGrath and he put us onto a pair of Yellow crowned Night Herons which were roosting about fifty yards away. We walked through the woods and round the beach but didn't spot anything new, apart from a Starling, and stayed late hoping that a local Screech Owl would appear. It didn't.
We called it a day and headed back to the hotel and along the causeway, in the half-light, we spotted a pair of Semipalmated Plovers.
Day 6, Wednesday, April 4th Set off this morning for the Six-mile Cypress Preserve. This was only a few miles down the road. This was a very picturesque place, all boardwalks through the forest. Bird wise, this morning, it was poor with the only birds of note being Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Downy Woodpecker and a Tufted Titmouse. We didn't linger long, and set off for Sanibel.
Stopping on the causeway we again had Semipalmated Plovers, Least Sandpipers, Grey Plover, Royal Tern and Great Black backed Gull. We carried on to the "Ding" Darling Preserve and today the water level was lower and sand bars were exposed. There were many more birds than yesterday. The first noteworthy birds were a flight of Roseate Spoonbills coming in to land on a sand bar. A pair of Yellow-crowned Night Herons flew by, yellow crowns showing well. Waders included Willets, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers, Spotted Sandpiper (without the spots). Many more Egrets, Herons, and Ibis were present than yesterday. Having seen this birding spectacular, we left Sanibel Island and headed for Bunche Beach.
This was a very popular place. Lots of single and pairs of males spaced along the beach. Why aren't there many females or couples? Beam me up Scotty.
The tide was high and birds were roosting and feeding way over to the right on the sand splits. While we were setting a scope up our first Magnificent Frigatebird glided over. The first of five seen here.
Scoping the sand splits produced two American Oystercatchers, three Long-billed Curlews, one American Avocet, Black Skimmers, Caspian Terns, four Marbled Godwits, Royal Terns, Reddish Egret, several Sandwich Terns, Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, four Semipalmated Plovers, four Western Sandpipers, a Piping Plover and a Spotted Sandpiper (without the spots).
The waterline was littered with the shells of little Horseshoe Crabs. Whatever feeds on them makes a good job of cleaning them out.
We departed from Bunche Beach, picking our way gingerly through the glistening adoni and taking care not to drop anything. What a gay day.
We then motored on down route 865 heading in the general direction of Naples. Firstly we intended to stop off at the Holiday Inn, instructions as per Bill Pranty's book. Parked up in the car park, and onto the beach. This was very resortish, with many people, Far too many for our liking. After about thirty minutes we called it a day and paddled back across the lagoon. Birds seen were Least Tern, two Frigatebirds, Black bellied Plover, two American Oystercatchers and a Common Grackle.
We motored on down the coast to Naples to look for some accommodation. Booked in at the Sea Shell Motel. After offloading our luggage, we set off for the Briggs Nature Center, which was on the way to Marco Island.
Arrived at Briggs too late. About a week too late for the Shiny Cowbird, it had shipped out. We amused ourselves for five minutes, feeding the Florida Scrub Jays, and posing for photos with them. They love cinnamon biscuits. We also had a few Eastern Towhees.
We drove across to Marco Island and walked to Tigertail Beach County Park. This was a wonderful place for shore birds. We walked as far as we could in a northerly direction. The tide was on the turn and coming in, this eventually pushed some of the birds towards us. A scope was set up for the birds out on the sand bars. Birds seen were Western Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Wilson's Plover, Piping Plover, Semipalmated Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers, Grey Plover, Short-billed Dowitchers, Red Knot, Ring-billed Gulls, Laughing Gulls, Least Terns, Royal Terns, Frigatebird, Brown Pelican, and Reddish Egret. Some of the plovers were pushed really close to us.
On the way back a Common Nighthawk flew overhead and we stopped off on the track to the Briggs Center to try for Chuck Wills Widow. While we were waiting a Pileated Woodpecker flew across the track. A White-tailed Deer was made out in the falling light. The mosquitoes were out in force, and biting. Three Chuck Wills Widows were heard, but none seen.
Day 7, Thursday, April 5th Departed Naples and headed southeast on route 41 & 29 for Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. The intention was to do the Jaynes Memorial Scenic Drive. When we got into it birding was very slow and after a few miles we turned back. The only bird of note being a White-eyed Vireo. We returned to route 41, crossed over it, and headed for Chokoloskee. After crossing the bridge onto the causeway, we pulled over. We spotted Osprey, Great Heron, White Ibis, and a Roseate Spoonbill.
On arrival at Chokoloskee, we parked by the Smallwood Store. This was a nice little place. We had Royal Terns, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows. In a large tree by the restrooms were some fifty Cedar Waxwings. The Waxwings flew and something very different was spotted high in the tree, alongside the trunk. It was an owl, a Great Horned Owl. It was massive, and it was feeding on what looked like the remains of a Snowy Egret. It was looking at us so contemptuously, as if to say, "You interrupt my lunch, and I'll punch you right on the nose". There was no doubt as to who was top gun in the Smallwood Store area.
A woodpecker type bird looped past and landing on a pine tree. This was identified as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. We said good-bye to the Owl and headed back to route 41, turning east, heading for the disused airboat station.
At Monroe Station, an Otter ran across the road, and we pulled over. There was a culvert running under the road, joining two creeks up. There were two of them, by the culvert entrance, swimming around. First sighting ever of an Otter in the wild.
Carried on up route 41, till we found the disused airboat station and pulled over. The bird we were hoping to see here was the Snail Kite and we picked them up right away. Forty yards across the canal, a male was perched up, giving us excellent views. The bill of a Snail Kite looks weak and ineffective from a distance. Close up, through the scope, you can see what a formidable tool it is for the job it does, extracting Apple Snails from their shells. Altogether, we had two males and four females.
The other birds we spotted there were 4 Limpkin, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Heron, Wood Storks, Belted Kingfisher, Grasshopper Sparrow and a Northern Flicker by the disused restaurant. The canal was full of fish and Alligators. This was a good place for birding.
We made our way to Homestead to find some accommodation settling for the Everglades Motel. While unloading our luggage, two Common Mynas were spotted in the car park.
We drove down to the Everglades National Park. On arrival we walked around the Anhinga and Gumbo Trails. All the water birds we saw had seen previously and there was also nothing new on the Gumbo Trail. What we did see as we traveled deeper into the park were three Swallow-tailed Kites. At Nine Mile Pond there was a Roseate Spoonbill. At the Mrazek Pond, there was a scum across most of the water, but that didn't bother the party of Blue-winged Teal on it.
Our next port of call was the Eco Pond, and we arrived there towards evening. This pond is man-made and is filled with re-cycled water from Flamingo. It is very popular with birds, mammals, and Alligators. Some of the larger wading birds had started to come into roost.
There were White Ibis, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Anhinga, Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Moorhens, American Coots, Pied Grebe and a Roseate Spoonbill.
A walk around the pond produced Cardinal, Catbird, Mockingbird, Common Yellowthroat and by the little bridge, a Least Flycatcher. In the air were Turkey and Black Vulture, American Crow, and two Red-shouldered Hawks were perched up nearby. Two Gull-billed Terns appeared over the pond for ten minutes. There were Common Grackles, Boat-tailed Grackles, and Red-winged Blackbirds, in fact the place was alive.
As dusk fell, more Alligators moved into the open water. We stayed on the platform for a while hoping for a Common Nighthawk. The mosquitoes were biting, so we called it a day. We had only driven a short while in the dark, when in the headlights we picked up a Common Nighthawk. A couple of miles further on a Chuck Wills Widow also appeared in the headlights, leaving us well satisfied on the drive back.
Day 8, Friday, April 6th. -Today we drive down the Keys to Key West, birding along the way. On Key Largo at the junction of routes 1 & 905, we refuelled at the gas station. We spotted four Red-bellied Woodpeckers, three of them on one post. We also had Common Myna here.
The first birding stop was the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. We walked two trails, which only produced Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black & White Warbler, and Prairie Warbler. Disappointing on the day, although it was slightly enlivened by a family fishing who between them were trying to deal with a very unhappy stingray.
The next stop was the Florida Wild Bird Centre, lots of injured birds on the mend, and recuperating. The smell was awful.
On Marathon Key, We called at the Key Colony Golf Course, and picked out a pair of Burrowing Owls from amongst the golfers. They seemed unperturbed by all the activity around them. At Marathon Airport, another Burrowing Owl was standing guard by the windsock. At Sugarloaf Key, we went looking for the Mangrove Cuckoo, but never found it, just the everyday birds. We carried on down the Keys, and the only other bird of note was a Belted Kingfisher, sat on the wires.
Booked in at the Day's Inn, Key West, had a quick dip in the pool, and off to the Botanical Gardens on Stock Island. There was little doing and we sat by a small pool watching a Common Yellowthroat and a Palm Warbler. What we were hoping to see was White-crowned Pigeon. As we walked out, a Great-crested Flycatcher was spotted, and high in a tree near it were two White-crowned Pigeons. We called it a day and drove down to the harbour, to find out where to catch our boat for the Dry Tortugas.
Day 9, Saturday, April 7th. We boarded the catamaran, " Fastcat", for the 70 miles trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park - originally called "Las Tortueas", because of the abundance of sea turtles. A large fort (Fort Jefferson) was built in the mid 18th century; this took 16 million bricks to complete. Pity the poor men mixing the cement.
Its more likely claim to fame is that Doctor Samuel Mudd was imprisoned here. He unknowingly treated the assassin that killed Abraham Lincoln, and was charged with complicity. He received a pardon for the work he performed during a yellow fever outbreak in the fort. The saying " Your name is Mudd" is connected to him, but in what context I know not.
Anyway, we are here for the birds. We started to pick up birds outward bound. Two Bridled Terns, a juv Northern Gannet, Pomarine Skua, three Brown Boobies.
When we docked, there were Laughing Gulls, Herring Gull, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Ruddy Turnstones, Royal Terns, Frigatebirds, and a Broad Winged Hawk was circling overhead.
We walked into the fort, and worked round the trees by the fountain. This produced Yellow rumped Warbler, Palm Warblers, Yellow throated Warbler, three Northern Parulas, Common Yellowthroat, and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. There was also an American Kestrel and a Merlin, both on station for the small birds. In the air amongst the Barn Swallows and the Rough-winged Swallows, was a Cave swallow.
On the top of the fort, a scope was set up to view the Masked Boobies on Hospital Key. We also scoped the Sooty Tern colony, and the Brown Noddies, which were parked up on the old quay pilings. We looked for an American Golden Plover, which was supposed to be around, but to no avail only seeing Black bellied. We walked around the outside of the fort, and the campsite area, and then spent the remainder of our time by the fountain inside the fort. Alas no more new birds to add to the list. On the return trip we had another six Brown Boobies on a buoy, making nine in total.
After docking we spent about an hour shopping. In a small square across the road from Captain Tony's' bar, Des happened to look up. In the top of a tree were eight White-crowned Pigeons. These are the birds that take some finding!
Before going back to the hotel, we returned to the Botanical Gardens on Stock Island. We sat on the bench by the small pool. Nothing was happening bird wise. I scanned the treetops in front of me, and in the branches of a large dead tree, laid along a bough was the largest lizard I've ever seen. We estimated that it was over four feet in length, with a crest along its back. It was banded, alternately washed out grey, and green coloring. It was an Iguana, a Common Iguana, maybe an escapee or just dumped but as long as it stayed where it was up there, we were happy. On the way out of the gardens there were five White-crowned Pigeons, in the same place where we saw two yesterday.
Back at the hotel, after a dip in the pool, we decided to have a couple of beers in downtown Key West. This is a lovely town with lots of clapperboard architecture. Sat outside a bar, having a beer, watching the world go by.
Day 10, Sunday, April 8th. We said goodbye to Key West, and headed back up the Keys, making a brief stop at the Botanical Gardens on Stock Island. The "beast of botanica" was still there in the same place, but no birds.
We turned off at Sugarloaf Key, to try again for the Mangrove Cuckoo. We drew a blank again, just the everyday birds, and seven Red-bellied Woodpeckers. One was on the side of a concrete pole, and two were perched on the wires. Is this the usual behavior for these woodpeckers?
At Marathon boat ramp and airport, we had two Frigatebirds, Laughing Gulls, a Herring Gull, Great Egret, Brown Pelican, American Kestrel, Gull billed Tern and the Burrowing Owl was still on sentry duty by the windsock.
The next stop was the Key Largo State Botanical Site. This was the only place where we never saw a bird. Walked around it, saw nothing and the only bird we heard was a White-eyed Vireo.
Headed north to the Homestead area of 216St to see the Cave Swallow colony. These we did see, flying above the two canal bridges. The one we saw on the Tortugas was a darker bird than these. We also had Loggerhead Shrike.
Back to the car, and heading west to Chekika, part of the Everglades National Park. There were plenty of families enjoying Sunday afternoon and fishing in the pool. We walked through the Hammock hoping for a Barred Owl, but it was pretty quiet. We did a little better walking round the picnic area. The birds we had were Blue-headed Vireo, two Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Red-shouldered Hawk. As we walked along the boardwalk back to the car, a Brown Thrasher flew from underneath it. Driving back towards Homestead, we had two Meadowlarks.
We were heading in the general direction of the motel. On Krome Road, we stopped at a small place called Mary Krome Park. There must be some local history here? Who was Mary Krome? We hoped we might see a Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Alas it wasn't to be. We had all the everyday birds plus Sharp-shinned Hawk, Purple Martin, and Loggerhead Shrike. Back to the Everglades Motel.
Day 11, Monday, April 9th. Today is the penultimate day of our trip, and we are going back to the Everglades National Park. We refuelled the car, had a coffee, and spotted a Common Myna. A stop was made by Robert's Fruit Store and we picked off all the everyday birds, plus White-winged Pigeon and Purple Martins.
Into the ENP and pulled off the road where the Seaside Sparrow territories are pegged out. We scanned these areas, hoping for one to pop up. During this time we had American Crow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, two Meadowlarks, and a White-tailed Deer. The flies were starting to bite. Eventually, one surfaced long enough for it to be seen by us.
Our next port of call was one we had read so much about. The Snake Bight Trail, This had a reputation for being heavy with mosquitoes. We had therefore, apart from the sprays and repellents, obtained two sets of Beekeepers veils, and a pair of surgical gloves each. Be prepared. When the mosquitoes became a nuisance, these were donned. The veils worked very well, until such time as you needed to use your binoculars. Ah well, back to the drawing board. The gloves worked very well.
On the way in we had Black & White Warbler, White-eyed Vireo and a female Painted Bunting. While we were trying to zero in on a small warbler, a Mangrove Cuckoo hopped into the frame. This was unbelievable and it made sure we all got a good view. Maybe it took pity on us.
We finally emerged out on the coast. It was well worth the walk, with many waders and shorebirds out on the mud. The first wader we saw was a Spotted Sandpiper, complete with spots. This one must be in quarantine. There were Black bellied Plover, two Semipalmated Plovers, fifty plus Marbled Godwits, a Greater Yellowlegs, thirty plus Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, ten Black-necked Stilts, twenty White Ibis, four Ospreys and a juv Bald Eagle.
After a while we headed back up the trail. Birds seen were Prairie Warbler, Black & White Warblers, four in total. We had more White-eyed Vireos, six in total, a Red-shouldered Hawk, four Red-bellied Woodpeckers, then, together, a Black-throated Blue Warbler and a Worm Eating Warbler. There was also a Raccoon across the creek searching for crabs amongst the mangroves. Before we emerged back on the road we saw two Great-crested Flycatchers. We were well satisfied with the Snake Bight.
On the Mrazek Pond, the Blue-winged Teal were still there. We took a break by the Flamingo waterfront, enjoying the view and the birds offshore. There were Brown and White Pelicans, four Ospreys, twenty Laughing Gulls, four Great Blue Herons, and a Reddish Egret.
We drove over to the Eco Pond. One of the first birds we saw was a Grey Kingbird, Another was spotted later. Some birds must be on the move.
All the everyday birds were here, with a good mixture of large wading birds. There were White Ibis, one Glossy Ibis, three Little Blue Heron, two Tricolored Heron, many Snowy Egret, six Great Egrets, and a Great Blue Heron.
There were also three "Great White" and two "Wurdemann's" Herons. The difference is astonishing when all are there to compare.
We also had Moorhen, American Coots, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, Belted Kingfisher, one Swallow-tailed Kite, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Two White-tailed Deer came out onto the track alongside the pond.
We started to make our way out of the park, said goodbye to Flamingo and headed towards Homestead. We decided on one last look at Royal Palm, and walked a little way on the Anhinga Trail . Five minutes on the boardwalk produced a Grey Kingbird, Double-crested Cormorants, four Anhinga, and a juv Purple Gallinule, this was very colourful. There was also a Green Heron, two Red-shouldered Hawks, and a Swallow-tailed Kite.
As we walked off passing the Double-crested Cormorants, one had its mouth open and showed it's bright blue gape. The next time you see one of these birds close up, examine their eyes. They have a spectacular circular pattern around the pupil. I have never seen this before in other birds.
We arrived back in the car park to find it full of about forty Vultures, both Black and Turkey. This must be some kind of sign. Better drive carefully. Headed back to the Everglades Motel, Homestead.
Day 12, Tuesday, April 10th. This is our last day. We fly from Miami International, at 20.40hrs. The hire car has to be returned for 1700hrs.
We headed north on Krome Road, stopping off at the Mary Krome Park, (Who was Mary Krome?), hoping for a Ruby Throated Hummingbird. We drew a blank, only seeing a Mockingbird with a stained red breast, a White-eyed Vireo, a Catbird, Mourning Doves, and a flight of Cedar Waxwings flew over.
The next port of call was a site obtained from the FLORIDA-L birdline at Krome Road along the railway tracks. Park up by the C-1W Canal. You don't have to walk more than 200 yards down the track. In that short distance, we had a male Dicksissel, one male and two female Indigo Buntings, and a female Blue Grosbeak along with several warblers.
We headed into Kendall, suburb of Miami, to the Baptist Hospital. Worked around the trees surrounding the ponds. We had the Monk Parakeets, a pair of White-winged Parakeets and a pair of Yellow Chevroned Parakeets. A pair of Red Whiskered Bulbuls flew across the road, returning five minutes later to the tree we were standing under, giving us superb views.
A Muscovy Duck was watching us. We happened to be walking passed its nest, at the foot of a tree, with a full clutch of eggs. We also had four Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
After leaving the hospital grounds, we drove round a residential area, as per the instructions in Bill Pranty's book. There was nothing happening at the tennis courts, or at the Furhgotts feeders, the only bird of note, being a Brown Thrasher in a front garden.
We drove to the A. D. Barnes Park as we still had a couple of hours before making tracks for the airport. We parked up and while we were having a bite to eat, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over. This was followed a few minutes later by two Swallow-tailed Kites.
We decided to give the nature trail a bash. The trail came to an elevated boardwalk, up to then we had not seen a bird. The next minute a Magnolia Warbler was spotted, then a female American Redstart. After that the tree canopy was full of small birds, eating and moving through. We had a happy finale chasing after these. The final total was two Magnolia Warblers, four American Redstarts (one male, and tree females), a male Indigo Bunting, four Black & White Warblers, a male Cape May Warbler, Prairie Warblers, Palm warblers, and a Blue-headed Vireo. This was a nice way to finish the trip. We stopped birding at 15.30hrs and set off for Miami Airport.
Footnote: After the red eye flight back to Heathrow, we picked up the hire car for the 170mile trip to the Republic of South Yorkshire. We were all tired and spelled each other driving. Called into a motorway service station for a comfort stop, and ordered two small coffees. The price was £3.00. ($4.20). For that price, in a filling station in America, we would have got half a gallon of coffee of much superior quality. It was only then, that I realised we were back in good old "rip off Britain".
We all enjoyed the trip very much and given the amount of time we had to spend there, the actual time of the year we were there, the areas we covered and that the weather was excellent throughout there was little more we could achieve. Over 1800 miles were covered in eleven days. We had seen 173 birds, and had one on call, the Bachman's Sparrow. Both Chris and Des had earmarked 20-25 new birds they were hoping to see. They actually had thirty-four. I had the princely total of 153 new birds
The information collected, and the advice taken was pretty accurate. Some places had very little birds, but this is much a matter of being in the right places at the right time. They all have their purple patches. The Keys were disappointing, we expected more from them.
At one stage, we wondered if we were birding in a vacuum. The winter migrants had gone. The summer migrants had not arrived, or were over flying because of the good weather, or were we just a couple of weeks early?
One place worthy of note is the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. As well as the birds, there were plenty of Butterflies, Dragonflies, Damselflies, and reptiles, in fact something for everyone. I think this place put us in the right frame of mind for the rest of the trip.
A return trip is definitely worth thinking about.
Queries: a) Could anyone identify the Parrots in the lakeside colony at Kissimmee, Lake Tohopekaliga?
b) Who was Mary Krome of Homestead? What is here claim to fame? No jokes please.
c) What's the history behind the Key West "Jungle Fowl" population?
Ray Thorneycroft. firstname.lastname@example.org
A Special thanks to Ian Stubbs for his late advice and for putting us onto the Wakodahatchee Wetlands.
Chris Johnson for his administrative flair in organizing the trip.
Margaret and Jim Hotchkiss, for obtaining the "DeLorme Florida Atlas & Gazetteer", and the internet introduction to Harry Ivienhous. A Florida birder they met on a Caribbean cruise.
Harry Ivienhous for introducing us to the FLORIDA-L Bird line.
The subscribers of FLORIDA-L Bird line, who through their messages to the web site unknowingly helped us.
Pied Billed Grebe Seen regularly at suitable sites
Brown Booby 9 seen from Dry Tortugas Ferry
Masked Booby 30+ on Hospital Key with 2 also flying close to the Ferry
Northern Gannet One seen from the Tortugas ferry
White Pelican Seen regularly at suitable sites
Brown Pelican Very common along coast
Double crested Cormorant Very common and seen regularly at suitable sites
Anhinga Common and seen regularly at suitable sites
Magnificent Frigatebird 3 at Bunche Beach, 1 at Marco Island and then seen along Keys and at Dry Tortugas
Least Bittern 3 at Wakodahatchee
Great Blue Heron Seen regularly at suitable sites
Great Egret Seen regularly at suitable sites
Snowy Egret Seen regularly than above species
Little Blue Heron Seen regularly at suitable sites
Tricoloured Heron Seen regularly at suitable sites
Reddish Egret Seen regularly at suitable sites
Cattle Egret Seen regularly at suitable sites
Green backed Heron Seen regularly at suitable sites
Black crowned Night Heron Singles at Ding Darling and Eco Lake
Yellow crowned Night Heron 2 at Sanibel Lighthouse and 2 at Ding Darling
White Ibis Common and seen regularly at suitable sites
Glossy Ibis Seen regularly at suitable sites
Roseate Spoonbill Seen at Ding Darling and Everglades NP
Wood Stork Seen regularly at suitable sites
Wood Duck 6 at Oscar Scherer
Mottled Duck Seen regularly in small numbers
Mallard Only a single noted at Kissimmee
Blue winged Teal Seen regularly at suitable sites, in single figures
Ring necked Duck a single male at Kissimmee
Muscovy Duck Seen regularly throughout
Red breasted Merganser 2 at Ding Darling
Black Vulture Common
Turkey Vulture Common
Osprey Numerous throughout
Swallow tailed Kite Seen regularly at suitable sites
Snail Kite At least six were seen at the disused Airboat Stand on US41
Bald Eagle After 15 at Fred's Fish Camp, then plentiful throughout Lakeland and 2 were seen at Flamingo
Northern Harrier 2 near Belle Glade, 1 near Canoe Creek Road and 1at Driggers Road
Sharp shinned Hawk Singles seen on several occasions throughout
Coopers Hawk 1at Fred's Fish Camp, Lake Marian
Red shouldered Hawk Common
Broad winged Hawk Several seen, including one soaring throughout our stay over Garden Key
Short tailed Hawk A dark phase bird circled over the exit from Arbuckle's Forest at Hwy 64
Crested Caracara 1 along Canoe Creek Road, 2 at Lake Jackson and 1 at Driggers Road
American Kestrel Odd birds seen regularly, including 1 at Dry Tortugas
Merlin Singles at Ft.Lauderdale Airport and the Dry Tortugas
Wild Turkey 10 at Three Lakes /Kissimmee area and 6 at Myakka
Sora 5 at Wakodahatchee
American Purple Gallinule Seen in small numbers at Wakodahatchee and Everglades NP
Common Moorhen Seen regularly at suitable sites
American Coot Seen regularly at suitable sites
Limpkin Singles at Wakodahatchee and Lake Jackson and 4 from the Airboat Stand
Sandhill Crane Several seen, mainly around Three Lakes /Kissimmee area
Whooping Crane 2 were near the boat ramp at Lake Jackson
Black bellied Plover seen in small numbers at suitable sites
Semipalmated Plover Seen regularly at suitable sites along coast
Wilson's Plover Seen at Marco Island
Piping Plover Seen at Bunche Beach and Marco Island
Killdeer Only seen around Loxahatchee and Three Lakes /Kissimmee area
American Oystercatcher 2 at Bunche Beach and 2 at Holiday Inn Beach, Fort Myers
Black necked Stilt Seen throughout, with up to 20 noted at several locations
American Avocet c30 at Lakeport and a single off Bunche Beach
Greater Yellowlegs Seen regularly at suitable sites in small numbers
Lesser Yellowlegs Only noted at sites between Okeechobee and Lake Jackson
Willet 40+ at Ding Darling and lesser numbers along the coast
Spotted Sandpiper Singles throughout but only one at Snake Bight Trail showed any spotting
Long billed Curlew 3 at Bunche Beach
Marbled Godwit 4 at Bunche Beach and at least 70 from end of Snake Bight Trail
Ruddy Turnstone Seen regularly at suitable sites along coast
Red Knot Only seen at Marco Island
Sanderling A few seen along the causeway at Sanibel and at Marco Island
Western Sandpiper Seen at Sanibel, Ding Darling and Marco Island
Least Sandpiper Seen in small numbers at several locations
Dunlin Only birds noted were at Ding Darling
Stilt Sandpiper 3 were seen at Lake Jackson
Short billed Dowitcher Seen regularly at suitable sites
Pomarine Skua A skua seen en route to the Dry Tortugas was probably this species.
Laughing Gull Common
Ring billed Gull Common
Herring Gull Occasional birds seen at coastal sites.
Great Black Backed Gull An immature was present on Sanibel Island causeway
Gull billed Tern 2 at Eco Pond and 2 offshore at Marathon
Caspian Tern Seen at several sites up to Kissimmee but not noted after there
Royal Tern Seen regularly at coastal sites from Sanibel onwards
Sandwich Tern Several seen at Bunche Beach
Forsters Tern Only a few noted at Lake Okeechobee and Cypress Lake
Least Tern Seen at Wakodahatchee, Okeechobee, Marco Island and Key West
Bridled Tern 2, with possibly 5 more, en route to Dry Tortugas
Sooty Tern Numerous at Dry Tortugas
Brown Noddy Numerous at Dry Tortugas
Black Skimmer 250+ at Jaycee Park and also many at Bunche Beach
Rock Dove Seen regularly at suitable sites
White crowned Pigeon Only seen at Key West, but then plentiful
Eurasian Collared Dove Common and seen regularly
White winged Dove Seen regularly
Mourning Dove Very common
Common Ground Dove Seen regularly throughout
Monk Parakeet Kendall Baptist Hospital
White winged Parakeet Kendall Baptist Hospital
Yellow chevron Parakeet Kendall Baptist Hospital
Yellow billed Cuckoo One at Dry Tortugas
Mangrove Cuckoo 1on the Snake Bight Trail made a short, silent and unexpected appearance
Smooth billed Ani 4 seen around the pond at Griffin Road Park, Ft.Lauderdale
Great Horned Owl An immature at Oscar Scherer Park and an unconcerned adult watched eating an Egret in a tree just above our heads at Chokoloskee
Burrowing Owl At Marathon, two on the Golf Course and one on the Airport
Common Nighthawk Singles at Marco Island and Flamingo
Chuck wills widow One on the road near Flamingo and three calling near Briggs Reserve
Belted Kingfisher Seen regularly throughout
Red headed Woodpecker One seen in a tree directly across the road from Venus Flatwoods
Red bellied Woodpecker Very common and seen regularly throughout
Yellow bellied Sapsucker One at Chokoloskee
Downy Woodpecker Singles at several sites
Northern Flicker Seen regularly
Pileated Woodpecker Seen at Joe Overstreet Road, Myakka and near Briggs
Least Flycatcher 1at Eco Pond and another Empid, considered this species, by Reedy Lake
Great crested Flycatcher Recorded at Arbuckle, Key West and Snake Bight Trail
Eastern Kingbird 2 seen at Joe Overstreet Road
Grey Kingbird 4 in Everglades NP
Purple Martin Seen regularly at suitable sites
Tree Swallow Seen regularly at suitable sites
Northern Rough winged Swallow Seen regularly at suitable sites
Cave Swallow 1 at Dry Tortugas and several at SW216th St site
Barn Swallow 1 at Kissimmee and a few at Dry Tortugas
Blue Jay Common and seen regularly
Florida Scrub Jay 2 at Archbold, 1 along the road to the south of there, and 2 at Briggs
American Crow Common
Fish Crow Common
Tufted Titmouse Singles at Reedy Lake and Six mile Cypress Reserve
Brown headed Nuthatch Seen at Joe Overstreet Road and Arbuckle Forest
Red whiskered Bulbul 2 at Kendall Baptist Hospital
Carolina Wren Seen regularly at suitable sites
Ruby crowned Kinglet One by Reedy Lake
Blue grey Gnatcatcher Several seen regularly at suitable sites
Eastern Bluebird Several around Three Lakes/Kissimmee included an unfortunate male which regrettably collided with our car.
Wood Thrush A single seen by the river at Oscar Scherer Park was a surprise sighting
Grey Catbird Common
Brown Thrasher Singles at Rainey Slough, Chekika and Kendall
Cedar Waxwing Flocks seen at Ft. Lauderdale, Chokoloskee and Mary Krome Park
Loggerhead Shrike Seen regularly throughout
European Starling Common
Common Myna Odd birds seen around Homestead
White eyed Vireo Several seen (and heard) throughout
Blue headed Vireo Odd birds seen regularly
Orange crowned Warbler 1 at Jackson Lake
Northern Parula Seen regularly throughout in small numbers
Magnolia Warbler 2 at A.D.Barnes Park
Cape May Warbler 1 male at A.D.Barnes Park
Yellow rumped Warbler Seen regularly
Yellow throated Warbler Singles at Griffin Road Park and Dry Tortugas
Pine Warbler Seen and heard at Three Lakes WMA and Arbuckle Forest
Prairie Warbler Common and seen regularly at suitable sites
Palm Warbler Numerous and seen throughout
Black and White Warbler Seen at several sites, with 4 at A.D.Barnes Park
American Redstart 1 male and 3 females at A.D.Barnes Park
Worm eating Warbler 1 on Snake Bight Trail
Common Yellowthroat Seen regularly
Northern Cardinal Common
Blue Grosbeak A female at Krome Railroad site
Indigo Bunting 3 at Krome Railroad and one at A.D.Barnes Park
Painted Bunting A female seen on Snake Bight Trail
Dickcissel One at Krome Railroad site
Eastern Towhee Seen regularly
Bachman's Sparrow Heard calling at Three Lakes WMA and Joe Overstreet Road.
Chipping Sparrow 6 at Lake Jackson
Savannah Sparrow Seen at Lake Jackson, Kissimmee and Rainey Slough
Grasshopper Sparrow 1 seen well at the disused Airboat Stand site on US41
Seaside Sparrow 1 at Everglades NP
Red winged Blackbird Very common and seen regularly
Eastern Meadowlark Seen regularly at suitable sites
Boat tailed Grackle Common
Common Grackle Common
Brown headed Cowbird Only birds noted were 3 at Joe Overstreet Road and 4 at Homestead
House Sparrow Seen regularly