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Birding in Southern and Central Florida, April 4th - 12th '99,
The participants on this brief birding trip to Southern and Central Florida (including a day trip to the Dry Tortugas) were Jan and Steve Mawby and Sue and John Price-Stephens. The trip was made during the Easter school holiday period and to keep down the cost of airfares (inflated during such periods) we did not depart the UK until the Easter Monday on which date the prices came down to reasonable (and acceptable) levels. Flights with British Airways were arranged by Wildwings and we were thus able to fly into Miami yet exit via Orlando which considerably reduced the un-necessary mileage.
A large four-seater saloon was pre-booked with Alamo in the UK through Wildwings but on arrival, we took the option to upgrade to a four-wheel drive Chevrolet. This gave added space and saved any concerns about travelling over unmade roads. The additional cost of the upgrade (a special offer!) was minimal and provided a nice change from the normal saloon type vehicle. Travelling throughout was easy and although we managed one flat tyre, the vehicle was changed by the hire company rather than allow us to get the tyre replaced. To facilitate this change of vehicle we had to go to Fort Myers which was not on our original itinerary but this caused us minimal problems and no loss of birding time.
Accommodation at the Coral Rock Motel at Homestead and the Blue Waters Motel at Marathon was pre-booked by telephone from the UK as it fell within the Easter period and it was felt that we may have experienced difficulty finding accommodation on arrival during this period. As it transpired, we had made the right decision as most places we came across had no vacancies (accommodation appears quite limited around the e Everglades and along the Keys). Elsewhere, accommodation was arranged on arrival with the Best Western at Fort Myers being the most suitable at the time of day that we were looking. The Jacaranda Hotel at Avon Park is an "unusual" place to say the least but was a known place, as the Price-Stephens' had stayed there during a previous visit to Florida.
April 4th - Flight London (Gatwick) to Miami. Birding at Cutler Ridge, Miami (Black Creek/Creek Canal) and Castello Hammock Park. Drive to Homestead. Overnight Coral Rock Motel, Homestead.
April 5th - Everglades National Park. Birding at Royal Palm, Mahogany Hammock, Paurotis Pond, West Lake, Mrazek Pond, Eco Pond, Flamingo, Snake Bight Trail and Paurotis Pond (again). Drive from Park to Marathon, Vaca Key. Overnight Blue Waters Motel, Marathon.
April 6th - Drive to Key West then catamaran to Dry Tortugas National Park for day. Birding on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas then return to Key West. Birding at Thomas Riggs Wildlife Refuge, Key West; Key West Botanical Gardens, Stock Island; Florida Keys Junior College, Stock Island. Drive from key West back to Marathon, Vaca Key. Overnight Blue Waters Motel, Marathon.
April 7th - Birding at Ohio Key and Sugarloaf Key then return via Marathon and Homestead to Fort Myers via the Miccosukee Restaurant. Overnight Best Western Motel, Estero, Fort Myers.
April 8th - Drive to Sanibel Island, birding along the Island causeway and the J.N."Ding" Darling Reserve. Drive to Avon Park via Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; the SR 74 road and Venus Flatwoods Preserve. Overnight Jacaranda Hotel, Avon Park.
April 9th - Birding around Avon Park, including Lake Arbuckle State Forest and Avon Park Air Force Ranges. Overnight Jacaranda Hotel, Avon Park.
April 10th - Drive to Gainesville birding en route at Alexander Springs, Ocala National Forest and the Payne's Prairie boardwalk overlook. Overnight Scottish Inns, Gainesville.
April 11th - Birding around Gainesville including Payne's Prairie; Morningside Nature Center; Gainesville Dairy Farm; San Felasco Hammock State Preserve and Gainesville Dairy Farm (again).
April 12th - Drive to Orlando. Flight from Orlando to London (Gatwick).
Taxonomy and sequence and nomenclature follow World Bird Species Checklist, M.G.Wells (1998)
New species are indicated by *
PIED-BILLED GREBE Podilymbus podiceps
Two on the Black Creek/Creek Canal, Cutler Ridge on the 4th, 2 at Royal Palm on the 5th and a minimum of 4 at J.N."Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel Island on the 8th.
MASKED BOOBY Sula dactylatra *
At least 10 were distantly viewable on Hospital Key from Garden Key on the Dry Tortugas on the 6th.
BROWN BOOBY Sula leucogaster
A minimum of 20 were noted throughout the day between Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
AMERICAN DARTER Anhinga anhinga *
A minimum of 30 noted around the Everglades on the 5th, with single figures noted on the 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th.
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT Phalacrocorax auritus
Noted on all dates being both salt and fresh water birds.
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN Pelecanus erythrorhynchus
At least 4 were noted in flight around the Everglades on the 5th with at least 12 around the J.N."Ding" Darling Reserve, Sanibel Island on the 8th.
BROWN PELICAN Pelecanus occidentalis *
Noted on four dates with possibly the largest number noted on the 6th around Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD Fregata magnificens
Upwards of 50 birds noted on the 6th, mainly around the Dry Tortugas.
GREAT BLUE HERON Ardea herodias
Fairly widespread in wetland habitat and noted on 4 dates.
CATTLE EGRET Bubulcus ibis
Widespread and common noted on nearly all dates.
GREAT EGRET Casmerodius albus
Relatively common but only noted on three dates in suitable habitat.
REDDISH EGRET Egretta rufescens *
One on the 6th at The Thomas Riggs Wildlife Refuge, Key West on the 6th and at least 3 around the "Ding" Darling Reserve on Sanibel Island on the 8th.
TRICOLORED HERON Egretta tricolor *
At least 10 noted on both the 5th (around the Everglades) and the 8th (Sanibel and Corkscrew Swamp) with fewer numbers on 4 other dates.
LITTLE BLUE HERON Egretta caerulea *
Not noted in any great number with many of those that were noted being white-phase juveniles. Only noted on 4 dates with the largest day count being 10 on the 8th around Sanibel and Corkscrew Swamp. Many on this date were adults.
SNOWY EGRET Egretta thula
Noted on six dates and the most widespread of the "white" herons.
GREEN HERON Butoroides virescens
At least 15 noted around the Everglades on the 5th with singles noted on 3 other dates.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON Nyctanassa violacea
One feeding amongst the vegetation, deep in Corkscrew Swamp, with another on a nest at the same reserve on the 8th. A species I had been keen to see and which did not disappoint.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax
Two in flight at Royal Palm on the 5th, 2 in flight from the boardwalk overlook, Payne's Prairie on the evening of the 10th, with the same or another two the following morning.
LEAST BITTERN Ixobrychus exilis *
One seen feeding in a channel at Royal Palm on the 5th and one in flight and then perched at the boardwalk overlook at Payne's Prairie N.P. on the 11th.
AMERICAN BITTERN Botaurus lentiginosus
One seen on the 5th at Royal Palm, Everglades N.P. when it flew into reeds close to the visitor centre and remained perched high up for some period of time.
WOOD STORK Mycteria Americana *
At least 100 noted around the Everglades on the 5th, mostly around Paurotis Pond with a similar number of nesting birds at Corkscrew Swamp sanctuary on the 8th. Two alongside the road near Avon Park on the 10th were the only other sighting.
AMERICAN WHITE IBIS Eudocimus albus *
At least 30 around the Everglades on the 5th with at least 20 around "Ding" Darling Reserve on the 8th. Smaller numbers (>5) on 3 other dates.
GLOSSY IBIS Plegadis falcinellus
A minima of 15 around the Everglades on the 5th with over 100 noted in flight in various sized groups over Payne's Prairie on the evening of the 10th.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL Ajaia ajaja *
Distant views of one in flight over Snake Bight, The Everglades on the 5th with at least 10 noted around the "Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel Island on the 8th.
MOTTLED DUCK Anas fulvigula *
One at the "Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel Island on the 8th, 2 around Avon Park on the 9th and 2 around Gainesville on the 11th were the only sightings.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL Anas discors
Five at the "Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel Island on the 8th were the only ones seen.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER Mergus serrator
Two off Key West on the 6th, 1 off Ohio Key on the 7th and a minimum of 4 off Sanibel causeway on the 8th.
TURKEY VULTURE Cathartes aura
Widespread and common and noted on all dates.
AMERICAN BLACK VULTURE Coragyps atratus *
Noted on six dates, mostly in small numbers in the south, but more prevalent the further north we travelled.
OSPREY Pandion haliaetus
A widespread raptor both over fresh and salt water. Noted on all but one date (9th) with the largest day count being in excess of 25 around the Everglades on the 5th.
AMERICAN SWALLOW-TAILED KITE Elanoides forficatus
At least 4 around the Everglades on the 5th, with up to 8 noted on the 8th around Corkscrew Swamp and the SR 74 with 1 on the 9th around Avon Park. A very smart bird but only seen in flight unfortunately.
WHITE-TAILED KITE Elanus leucurus *
Two birds noted along side the main road to Flamingo on the 5th not far from Paurotis Pond.
SNAIL KITE Rostrhamus sociabilis *
A minimum of 6 birds seen both perched and in flight behind the Miccosukee Indian Restaurant along the Tamiami Trail near Forty Mile Bend on the late afternoon of the 7th.
BALD EAGLE Haliaeetus leucocephalus
The only one seen was an adult in a field alongside the road near to Venus Flatwoods on the evening of the 8th.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK Accipiter striatus
What was probably one of this species was noted around the Key West Junior College on Stock Island on the evening of the 6th whilst a definite sighting was made over the Ohio Key campground on the 7th.
COOPER'S HAWK Accipiter cooperii *
A single female of this species was seen hunting and then perched in a tree between the Everglades and Homestead on the afternoon of the 5th.
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK Buteo lineatus *
Noted on three dates in central and southern Florida, with a maxima of 4 on both the 5th and 9th. Buzzard sp. were not as widespread and common as expected with the vultures seemingly replacing them in the main.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK Buteo platypterus *
A single of this species was found perched on a snag close by the road in the "Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel Island on the 8th. At first considered to be a Red-shouldered Hawk, its true identity was only revealed when it took flight and it's broad wings, with barred white under wing was seen, showing none of the red colouring expected with Red-shouldered.
RED-TAILED HAWK Buteo jamaicencis
Singles noted on three dates around the Everglades.
CRESTED CARACARA Polyborus plancus *
The only sighting was of an adult sat under a tree in a field of cows alongside the road from Immokalee to Palmdale. Remaining even after we stopped and set up the 'scopes it eventually flew from sight giving only brief flight views.
AMERICAN KESTREL Falco sparverius
Noted on five dates although none were seen particularly well, being mostly brief flyovers.
MERLIN Falco columbarius
One seen well on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas chasing birds inside the fort compound was totally unexpected.
PEREGRINE Falco peregrinus
One in flight near the Pa-hay-okey overlook in the Everglades on the 5th was again an unexpected bird.
NORTHERN BOBWHITE Colinus virginianus *
Two running across the roadway at the Venus Flatwoods Preserve on the 8th, 4 around the Avon Park Airforce Range on the 9th, with two showing particularly well close to the entrance and 1 briefly on the 11th near Gainesville.
COMMON TURKEY Meleagris gallopavo *
Brief views of one running away along a track ahead of us in the Lake Arbuckle area on the 9th was provided brief but sufficient views to count it.
SANDHILL CRANE Grus canadensis *
Two alongside the road between Immokalee and Palmdale on the 8th, 2 in the Avon Park area on the 9th and 4 between Avon Park, Kissimmee and Gainesville on the 10th.
LIMPKIN Aramus guarauna *
A disappointing showing, with only 2 seen relatively briefly, in flight, these being at Alexander Springs, Ocala Forest on the 10th.
KING RAIL Rallus elegans *
An unexpected bonus was a calling bird at the Payne's Prairie boardwalk overlook which eventually showed itself with another moving through the thick water vegetation close to the boardwalk. Possibly the same two were later seen in flight on the other side of the boardwalk, landing close to the roadway and in much shorter vegetation which allowed prolonged views of them as the moved around.
COMMON MOORHEN Gallinula chloropus
Singles noted on five dates.
AMERICAN PURPLE GALLINULE Porphyrula martinicus
Only seen at Royal Palm in the Everglades on the 5th when 3 in total were seen both close and well.
AMERICAN COOT Fulica americana
Only noted around south Florida and the Everglades on the 4th and 5th.
BLACK-NECKED STILT Himantopus mexicanus *
Six noted on various ponds in the Everglades on the 5th, 6 on a lake on the Keys near Marathon on the 7th and 1 at "Ding" Darling on the 8th.
GREY (BLACK-BELLIED) PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola
Noted on four dates in small numbers.
SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER Charadrius semipalmatus
A flock of about 30 birds on Ohio Key on the 7th were the only ones seen.
WILSON'S PLOVER Charadrius wilsonia *
One on the shoreline as we parked on one of the islands on the Sanibel Island causeway on the 8th. The Florida birding guide states this to be a favoured site but to only find one was something of a real bonus.
KILLDEER PLOVER Charadrius vociferus
Singles noted on three dates, one on Bush Key, Dry Tortugas on the 6th, one at "Ding" Darling on the 8th and one around Avon Park on the 9th.
PIPING PLOVER Charadrius melodus *
Again, we were incredibly fortunate, making the visit to Ohio Key on the 7th only on the strength of the birding guide, a single bird associating with Semi-Palmated Plovers was again, a real bonus.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS Tringa melanoleuca
Three were noted with Lesser Yellowlegs on a wader scrape at "Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel Island on the 8th.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS Tringa flavipes
At least 30 on the same wader scrape as mentioned above.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER Actitis macularia
The first "spotted" ones ever seen were 1 on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas on the 6th and 1 shoreline bird alongside the Sanibel Island causeway on the 8th.
WILLET Catoptrophorus sempalmatus *
At least 5 noted along the coast at Flamingo in the Everglades on the 5th, 2 at Key West on the 6th and a minima of 10 around Sanibel Island on the 8th.
RUDDY TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres
Noted on three dates, all coastal locations. Birds were in breeding plumage.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER Limnodromas griseus
At least 50 were noted on the beach by the Thomas Riggs Wildlife Refuge at Key West on the 6th, with at least 25 on Ohio Key on the 7th and 10 around the "Ding" Darling reserve on the 8th.
SANDERLING Calidris alba
Noted on the 7th at Ohio Key and on the 8th along the Sanibel Island causeway.
LEAST SANDPIPER Calidris minutilla
A small flock on Ohio Key on the 7th with 1 on the Sanibel Island causeway on the 8th.
POMARINE JAEGER Stercorarius pomarinus
Two birds noted on the journey to and from the Dry Tortugas on the 6th. Both came reasonably close at which time the tail could be clearly seen.
PARASITIC JAEGER Stercorarius parasiticus
One noted on the journey out to the Dry Tortugas on the 6th. Much slimmer and lighter bodied than the previous species and also showing much lighter flight.
RING-BILLED GULL Larus delawarensis
Two noted on the 4th at Cutler Ridge and 2 on the 8th on the Sanibel Island causeway.
HERRING GULL Larus argentatus
Four were noted on Bush Key, Dry Tortugas on the 6th, with birds noted alongside US.1 along the Keys on the 7th.
LAUGHING GULL Larus atricilla
Noted on four dates but only in coastal locations, never noted inland.
GULL-BILLED TERN Gelochelidon nilotica
Three were noted off Key West on the 6th.
CASPIAN TERN Hydroprogne caspia
At least 10 were standing on a sand bar off Flamingo on the 5th in company with other tern sp.
ROYAL TERN Thalasseus maximus
Ten off Flamingo on the 5th, a minima of 50 around the Dry Tortugas on the 6th with a further 10 noted alongside US.1 across the Keys on the 7th.
SANDWICH TERN Thalasseus sandvicencis
Only noted around the Dry Tortugas on the 6th.
FORSTER'S TERN Sterna forsteri
Up to 5 off Flamingo sea front on the 5th, at least 20 around the Dry Tortugas on the 6th and noted around the Sanibel Island causeway on the 8th.
SOOTY TERN Sterna fuscata *
Several hundred nesting on Bush Key, Dry Tortugas gave good views both at rest and in flight.
LEAST TERN Sterna antillarum
Up to 15 birds noted as flyovers at Key West on the 6th.
BROWN NODDY Anous stolidus *
Several hundred nesting on Bush Key showed well throughout our time on the Dry Tortugas.
BLACK SKIMMER Rynchops niger *
At least 25 noted on the sandbar off Flamingo front, Everglades National Park on the 5th with a minimum of 16 noted on the Dry Tortugas on the 6th.
ROCK DOVE Columba livia
Widespread and common
COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto
Noted on three dates. Introduced and doubtlessly spreading rapidly.
MOURNING DOVE Zenaida macroura
Widespread and common
WHITE-WINGED DOVE Zenaida asiatica *
At least 10 noted around Castello Hammock, Homestead on the 4th with 1 noted at "Ding" Darling on the 8th.
COMMON GROUND DOVE Columbina passerina *
The only 2 seen were at the J.N."Ding" Darling reserve on Sanibel Island on the 8th. They gave good views until flushed by children.
BARRED OWL Strix varia *
Two sat in trees in open view of the boardwalk through Corkscrew Swamp on the 8th were unconcerned by the attention we paid to them.
BURROWING OWL Speotyto cunicularia *
Two on Homestead Municipal Airport on the 8th were the only ones seen although this site was specifically targeted for them.
CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW Caprimulgus carolinensis
Several heard calling within the Everglades close to Royal Hammock just prior to dawn on the 5th, with brief flight views of two birds, one of which was flushed off of the roadway ahead of us before we realised what it was. A more careful approach may have given us stunning views - who knows.
CHIMNEY SWIFT Chaetura pelagica
Several noted around the Jacaranda Hotel at Avon Park on the evening of the 9th with good numbers around the older wooden houses of Gainesville during the morning of the 11th.
BELTED KINGFISHER Megaceryle alcyon
One on the 5th in the Everglades and 1 on the 8th at "Ding" Darling were the only ones seen.
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER Melanerpes erythrocephalus
A target species for the trip, two were unexpectedly found inspecting tree cavities (apparently occupied by Starlings) at the Venus Flatwoods Preserve a site where the following species was to be more expected. A further bird was seen on the 11th at Morningside Nature Centre, Gainesville.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER Melanerpes carolinus
Widespread and common and noted on six dates with a day maxima of 7 on the 5th around the Everglades.
DOWNY WOODPECKER Picoides pubescens
One on the 9th at Lake Arbuckle Forest and a minimum of 4 around Gainesville on the 11th.
RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER Picoides borealis
One close by the roadway at the Venus Flatwoods Preserve on the 8th was the only sighting although once seen, we didn't try any further sites for them.
NORTHERN FLICKER Colaptes auratus
Two around Flamingo, Everglades National Park on the 5th, 1 at "Ding" Darling on the 8th and 2 at Lake Arbuckle Forest on the 9th were the only sightings.
PILEATED WOODPECKER Dryocopus pileatus
Singles noted in the Everglades at Royal Palm on the 5th, "Ding" Darling on the 8th, Lake Arbuckle on the 9th with 2 around Gainesville on the 11th. All showed themselves well, especially the one on the 8th as it spent some time in a small dead tree.
LEAST FLYCATCHER Empidonax minimus *
A real unexpected bonus both for us and our American guide (Rex Rowan) was John's finding of this bird on the edge of woodland near the Gainesville dairy unit. Not having seen an undisputable member of this species in Florida before, Rex was overjoyed when it called it's distinctive call, confirming its identity. (Three previous sightings by Rex had refused to call and were therefore, not positively identifiable, although they doubtless were this species).
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER Myiarchus crinitus
More common than expected and birds noted on five dates with at least 5 being noted on the 8th.
EASTERN KINGBIRD Tyrannus tyrannus *
One hawking off a fence line on the Avon Park Air Force Range on the 9th was the only sighting.
GRAY KINGBIRD Tyrannus dominicensis *
One at the "Ding" Darling reserve on the 8th was probably to be expected, and gave good views of itself sat atop a dead snag.
TREE SWALLOW Tachycineta bicolour *
Only noted on three dates, and then only in single figure numbers.
PURPLE MARTIN Progne subis *
Small numbers noted on three dates around areas where nesting facilities were provided.
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW Stelgidopteryx
Similar to above. No doubt birds were only just beginning to arrive for the summer as our first sightings of both species was on the Dry Tortugas.
BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica
Only noted over Fort Jefferson, Garden Key, Dry Tortugas on the 6th.
AMERICAN CLIFF-SWALLOW Hirundo pyrrhonata
Six around the Avon Park area on the 9th and 10 around Kissimmee on the 10th.
CAVE SWALLOW Hirundo fulva *
Only four were noted at their nesting site under the road bridges over the Black Creek/Creek Canal at Cutler Ridge, Miami on the 4th, although mid-afternoon was possibly the wrong time to be visiting the site.
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE Lanius ludovicianus *
Relatively widespread and seen most days in small numbers, with at least 6 noted on the 8th.
CEDAR WAXWING Bombycilla cedrorum
Two flocks totalling at least 50 birds were noted around Royal Palm, The Everglades on the early morning of the 5th, with a flock of 25 in trees outside our motel at Gainesville on the 11th.
SEDGE WREN Cistothorus platensis *
One, heard calling by Rex alongside the main road at Payne's Prairie on the 11th was eventually located in short vegetation and showed well after a couple of minutes. An unexpected bonus.
MARSH WREN Cistothorus palustris *
Several were heard calling from thick watery vegetation alongside the boardwalk at Payne's Prairie on the 11th but none showed themselves. However, 1 or possibly 2 birds were eventually seen well alongside the main road in more shrubby vegetation.
CAROLINA WREN Thryothorus ludovicianus *
First seen at Corkscrew Swamp sanctuary on the 8th, with 2 around Lake Arbuckle on the 9th, 1 at Alexander Springs on the 10th and 3 around Gainesville on the 11th. A very smart bird.
HOUSE WREN Troglodytes aedon *
One eventually tracked down in brushy vegetation surrounding a slurry pond at the Gainesville dairy unit on the 11th. Although it showed itself only briefly, it was identified on song by Rex and when seen, looked distinctly similar to Winter Wren but buffy-grey in colouration.
GREY CATBIRD Dumetella carolinensis
Widespread and common and noted on five dates.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD Mimus polyglottos
Noted on all dates. A very widespread species.
BROWN THRASHER Toxostoma rufum *
One first found at Eco Pond in the Everglades on the 5th, scratching around under a bush, with others seen at Lake Arbuckle forest on the 9th and Morningside Nature Centre, Gainesville on the 11th.
EASTERN BLUEBIRD Sialia sialis *
First noted at Venus Flatwoods Preserve on the evening of the 8th with upwards of 7 around Lake Arbuckle, Avon Park Air Force Range on the 9th and at least 10 around Gainesville on the 11th. The males are really stunning and although relatively common in the right habitat, a species I had been particularly keen to see.
BLUE-GREY GNATCATCHER Polioptila caerulea
Four around Corkscrew Swamp sanctuary on the 8th, 4 around Lake Arbuckle forest on the 9th and up to 6 around Gainesville on the 11th.
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET Regulus calendula
One drab bird was found at the Gainesville dairy unit on the 11th. A late winter straggler to the area.
CAROLINA CHICKADEE Parus carolinensis *
Two seen on the 11th, with the first at the Gainesville dairy unit in the morning with the second at San Felasco Hammock in the afternoon.
TUFTED TITMOUSE Parus bicolor
First noted at Lake Arbuckle on the 9th, with 2 around Alexander Springs on the 10th and up to 6 noted around Gainesville on the 11th.
BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH Sitta pusilla *
At least 3 were seen, all very well, at the Morningside Nature Centre, Gainesville on the 11th.
BLUE JAY Cyanocitta cristata
Widespread and common and noted on five dates.
FLORIDA JAY Aphelocoma coerulescens *
At least 6 birds were noted around the Lake Arbuckle area on the morning of the 9th. Being typically inquisitive, they all gave a good showing of themselves.
AMERICAN CROW Corvus brachyrhynchos
Widespread and relatively common although never in particularly large numbers.
FISH CROW Corvus ossifragus
Specifically identified (on call) around Flamingo, Everglades National Park on the 5th, Sanibel Island causeway on the 8th and Gainesville on the 11th, where Rex said they were as numerous as American Crow at this time of the year.
COMMON STARLING Sturnus vulgaris
Widespread and common and noted on most dates.
LINCOLN'S SPARROW Melospiza lincolnii
A sparrow sp. chased around a field of palmetto scrub in the Avon Park Air Force Range was finally pinned down and considered to be this species, although Grasshopper Sparrow had been hoped for.
SWAMP SPARROW Melospiza georgiana
Three specifically noted at Paynes Prairie on the early morning visit on the 11th.
SAVANNAH SPARROW Passerculus sandwichensis
At least 5 were noted alongside the SR.74 whilst we were looking for Short-tailed Hawk over the riverine woodland that runs parallel with this road on the 8th, with at least a further 2 at the Gainesville dairy unit on the 11th.
CHIPPING SPARROW Spizella passerina
Two were noted dust bathing alongside the track through the Lake Arbuckle forest on the 9th.
BACHMAN'S SPARROW Aimophila aestivalis *
One in song near the Gainesville amenity site on the evening of the 11th was only seen briefly as it dropped to the ground from the bush from where it had been singing. This site held several singing birds the day previously but it was somewhat breezy when we visited, no doubt keeping the birds low.
RUFOUS-SIDED TOWHEE Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Two noted in the Lake Arbuckle forest on the morning of the 9th with 3 noted around Gainesville on the 11th.
NORTHERN CARDINAL Cardinalis cardinalis
Noted on all dates except the 6th in small numbers with 8 on the 11th around Gainesville being the highest count.
INDIGO BUNTING Passerina cyanea
Up to 5 birds noted in scrubby areas near the Gainesville dairy unit on the 11th included at least 3, stunningly blue, males.
SUMMER TANAGER Piranga rubra *
Possible 2 adult males seen within the San Felasco Hammock area near Gainesville on the 11th. Larger than I had expected, this was the first (and only) species of Tanager seen.
NORTHERN PARULA Parula americana
At least three seen around the Alexander Springs nature trail on the 10th with possibly 4 seen around the San Felasco Hammock on the 11th. In spring plumage they are well worth seeing.
BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER Mniotilta varia
Two noted in the Everglades on the 5th, 1 at Lake Arbuckle forest on the 9th and 3 around Gainesville on the 11th. Still (possibly) one of the best wood warblers.
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER Dendroica caerulescens*
A beautiful male found in San Felasco Hammock preserve on the afternoon of the 11th was unexpected.
PINE WARBLER Dendroica pinus *
The first was seen at Venus Flatwoods Preserve on the 8th with 2 around the Lake Arbuckle forest on the 9th and 4 around Gainesville on the 11th. Although quite smart, not one of the best wood warblers.
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER Dendroica dominica
Another stunning bird, with one seen well at the Gainesville dairy unit on the morning of the 11th.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER Dendroica virens
One seen at Mahogany Hammock, Everglades National Park on the 5th was the only sighting and this was a female.
PRAIRIE WARBLER Dendroica discolor *
At least 4 noted around the Everglades on the 5th with at least 6 noted on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas on the 6th. Another drab wood warbler.
PALM WARBLER Dendroica palmarum *
Seen in good numbers on six dates with double figure counts on several days but particularly the 11th around Gainesville. The species was obviously migrating northwards in good numbers.
CAPE MAY WARBLER Dendroica tigrina *
Two noted at Flamingo on the afternoon of the 5th were something of a bonus.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER Dendroica coronata
One noted at Flamingo on the 5th; 3 noted around Fort Jefferson on the 6th and 1 on Sugarloaf Key on the 7th.
AMERICAN REDSTART Setophaga ruticilla *
One feeding on the ground making forays from a hedgerow on Ohio Key close to the beach on the 7th was the only sighting of a bird I had wanted to see.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH Seiurus noveboracensis
One seen well and another flushed from a brushy water-filled ditch at the Gainesville dairy unit on the evening of the 11th.
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH Seiurus motacilla *
One, brought to our notice by a fellow birder, was seen feeding under a bush in the middle of the campsite on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas on the 6th.
WORM-EATING WARBLER Helmitheros vermivorus
A real unexpected bonus was a bird found by Rex at the San Felasco Hammock reserve on the 11th. First seen in the canopy it was later re-discovered at lower level where it gave very good views. When first seen, it had a "worm" (caterpillar) in it's bill.
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER Protonotaria citrea
A stunningly beautiful male seen early evening in trees around the pool at the Key West Botanical Gardens on Stock Island. Not showing itself for very long, its identification was no problem.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT Geothlypis trichas
Noted on five dates, mostly close to marshy/wet habitats with 5 being noted on the 11th around the Gainesville area.
HOODED WARBLER Wilsonia citrina *
Both male and female birds seen in a nesting area at San Felasco Hammock preserve on the 11th. A species promised us by our host (Rex), it was a species that lived up to expectations.
WHITE-EYED VIREO Vireo griseus *
Up to 3 birds noted around Lake Arbuckle forest on the 9th with 1 at Gainesville on the 11th.
SOLITARY VIREO Vireo solitarius *
One found in a tree on Kissimmee Municipal Airport (whilst JP-S was plane spotting) on the 10th with another at Gainesville on the 11th.
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO Vireo flavifrons
Two found by Rex in San Felasco Hammock preserve on the 11th were first heard singing from deep within the wood whilst we were on the other side of the road.
RED-EYED VIREO Vireo olivaceus
One at Fort Jefferson, Garden Key on the 6th, one along the Alexander Springs nature trail on the 10th and up to 5 around Gainesville on the 11th.
BLACK-WHISKERED VIREO Vireo altiloquus *
One of the hoped for species at the beginning of the trip was found out of habitat in bushes within Fort Jefferson on Garden Key on the 6th. Normally found in mangroves, the species was probably just beginning to arrive from wintering quarters.
EASTERN WARBLING VIREO Vireo gilvus
One seen briefly at the water fountain within Fort Jefferson, Garden Key on the 6th.
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH Carduelis tristis
Three, including one beautifully marked male in a private garden in Gainesville on the 11th.
HOUSE FINCH Carpodacus mexicanus
At least 6 birds including one bright male visiting feeders in a private garden in Gainesville on the 11th.
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
Noted on several dates. Apparently fairly widespread.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE Icterus galbula
At least two, one an almost full summer male visiting a feeder in a private garden in Gainesville on the 11th.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD Agelaius phoeniceus
Noted on all dates. Widespread and common. Some birds were exceptionally well marked.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK Sturnella magna *
Noted on five dates with a day maximum of 10 on the 9th around the Avon Park Air Force Range.
BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE Quiscalus major *
Widespread and common and noted most dates.
COMMON GRACKLE Quiscalus quiscula *
Similar distribution to the above species.
SHINY COWBIRD Molothrus bonariensis *
A single, found sitting in a tree at Flamingo, Everglades National Park showed for some time allowing us to obtain good views of this increasing species within the state.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD Molothrus ater
Noted on three dates mostly sitting on roadside wires close to suitable habitat