Monday, March 28, 2011

Red-whiskered Bulbul - A Visit to Miami-Dade County

Tuesday March 23rd

Today I headed across the state to Miami-Dade County to look for exotics. First stop was in a restaurant parking lot in Miami to look for Bronzed Cowbirds.  Though not exotic they are an expanding, invasive species.

Bronzed Cowbirds in Miami
Found a flock of about fifteen of the cowbirds, plus other invasive/exotic species in European Starlings, House Sparrows, Eurasian Collared Doves and a lone Common Myna.
A few minutes south of the restaurant is the suburban town of Kendall, which is home to a large variety of exotic species. Two much sought after and countable exotics are the spot-breasted oriole, from south Mexico and Central America and the Red-whiskered Bulbul from India. These two are nemesis birds as I have searched for them several times. The neighborhood just north of the Kendall Baptist Hospital campus is a popular sight to check for the bulbul and finally today I spotted a pair on the telephone lines behind  a residence. LIFER!!! Also seen in the neighborhood were Loggerhead Shrike, White-winged Dove, Monk Parakeets, Mitred Parakeets, Fish Crows, Blue Jays and Northern Mockingbirds
Egyptian Goose in Kendall
On the campus of the hospital I got better looks at the the Mitred parakeets as well as Anhingas, Ring-billed Gulls, various domesticated waterfowl including Muscovy Ducks and another exotic in an Egyptian Goose. The Egyptians are slowly expanding in Florida, preferring sights like golf courses and parks, with short grasses and ponds.  I first saw this species on the golf course next to my Mom's condo in Pembroke Pines a few years ago.
My final stop was at Matheson Hammock County Park in Coral Gables. Was hoping to see hill mynas and any parrots, especially chestnut-fronted macaws.  The park was very quite. Found a Prairie Warbler and some Coots. I did here an occasional parrot, including the squawk of a macaw.  But none were seen. There
is a small flock of blue and yellow macaws that are found in the Coral Gables/University of Miami area.

A week earlier I was lucky to have spotted another Florida specialty and nemesis bird in a Smooth-billed Ani. I had returned to Glades County near LaBelle to look for Crested Caracara and Florida Scrub Jays, and on my way home had an ani fly across Rt 80 a couple of miles west of LaBelle. I have made several attempts at locating this bird at reported locations in Ft Lauderdale and the Everglades the past few years. Now I have one unexpectedly cross my path. Cool!! The smooth-billed ani is common bird in the Caribbean and South America and was once common in south Florida, but is now disappearing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Burrowing Owl

March 21st

Burrowing Owl located in Cape Coral, Florida

White-morphed Reddish Egret

March 19th

 Started the month off with a birding blitz on the first.  Started the morning with waiting at a Red-cockaded Woodpeckers cluster at dawn for the awakening of the endangered woodpeckers, at Babcock-Webb. Aside from the seeing the RCW was also lucky to find a Bachman's Sparrow, and several Brown-headed Nuthatches. Could also add a Great Horned Owl, Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebird, Sandhill Crane, Eastern Towhee, Northern Bobwhites, Pine Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Tree Swallows.

A White-morphed Reddish Egret at Bunch Beach
From Babcock-Webb I made stops in Alva for hits on American Kestrel and Red-headed Woodpecker, then a visit with the White's to view activity at their feeders. These feeders were very busy with American Goldfinches, Painted Buntings and Indigo Buntings. Also present were a Chipping Sparrow, White-winged Doves, Mourning Doves, Northern Cardinal and a calling Northern Parula.
The White-morphed Reddish Egrets are much more common in the Florida Keys
Next onto Lehigh Acres and Harn's Marsh. Was able to assist some newby birders in locating Snail Kites and Limpkins. Also present were the usual wading birds - Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets. The duck and coot numbers seemed to be decreasing. Seen were Mottled Ducks, Lesser Scaups and Blue-winged Teal, plus American Coots and Pied-billed Grebes. Can also add Wilson's Snipe, Tree Swallows, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Anhings, Fish Crows, American Robins and Savannah Sparrows.
Piping Plover
After a break at home, my daughter joined me for my last stop of the day, at Bunche Beach.  The star at the beach was the arrival of a White-morphed Reddish Egret.  We do see the white-morphs in the area, but they are far more common in the Keys than here. Counted about five Piping Plovers and several Black-bellied Plovers. Seen a few Double-crested Cormorants and Brown Pelicans, plus a couple of Royal Terns, a couple of Ring-billed Gulls and several Laughing Gulls. Can also add American Oystercatcher, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher
My Day List - (84)
Muscovy Duck, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Pied-billed Grebe, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Northern Bobwhite, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Reddish Egret, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Snail Kite, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Black-bellied Plover, Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Wilson's Snipe,  Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Royal Tern, Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jay, Fish Crow,  Tree Swallow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, House Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, American Robin, Brown Thrasher, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Bachman's Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow,  Savannah Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, American Goldfinch,  Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle

Ring-billed Gull