Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roseate Terns - The Florida Keys, Day Two

Tuesday, May 31st

Day two started out early, by returning to the Marathon Government Center, and was rewarded by dozens of White-crowned Pigeons, a dozen Least Terns and a half dozen Roseate Terns. I noted that all of the white-crowned pigeons were heading in the same direction.  No doubt seeking food.  These birds feed on the fruits of hard wood trees like poisonwood berries.  Other birds present were Eurasian Collared Doves, Rock Pigeons, Northern Mockingbirds and the most commonly seen bird in the Keys, Red-winged Blackbirds.
Iguanas are found through-out south Florida. This lizard was with about a dozen sunning in the ealy morning

It was really difficult to get a good photo of a White-crowned Pigeon

A Key Deer getting a drink at a residence

Following breakfast we continued down US 1 to the National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge. The Key Deer is the smallest variety of white-tailed deer and are only found in the Florida Keys.  They are considered to be endangered and it is unlawful to feed them, but most of the deer we saw were feeding in peoples' yards

We came across another breeding colony of Least Terns nesting on the roof of a commercial building.  Tryed getting photos of white-crowned pigeons here, but they were skittish. Also were seen Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Black Vultures, Great Crested Flycatchers, Gray Kingbirds and a Prairie Warbler.

At this point we turned for home, and continued spotting all the same birds including hundreds of Double-crested Cormorants on the pilings and power lines.  Eurasian Collared Doves and white-crowned pigeons remanded plentiful and we add more Common Mynas, a lone Swallow-tailed Kite and a pair of Nanday Parakeets.
Small squirrell feeding at entrance to Dagny

We made a return stop at Dagny Preserve on Key Largo, were we failed to again find a mangrove cuckoo, but added a White-eyed Vireo.  Passing through Homestead we again added common myna, House Sparrow and Chimney Swifts.

Here, instead of heading home we diverted to Everglades National Park and Areojet Road ( Lucky hammock and The Annex).  At Long Pine Key, where the Cuban Pewee was found last September, we were able to add Red-bellied Woodpecker and an Eastern Towhee. At Pautotis pond we added 42 Wood Storks, a Great Blue Heron, a Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egrets, Black Vultures, an Eastern Kingbird, tons of mosquitoes and a very large alligator. At Flamingo we had lots of Laughing Gulls, but struck out of locating any American crocodiles. Nearby Eco Pond was nearly dry we only found a half dozen Black-necked Stilts ( maybe one nesting), a couple of Semipalmated Plovers and about six peeps that were probably Sanderlings, but needed a scope to be 100% sure.
Black-necked Stilt at Eco Pond


We checked out Research Road for any possible white-tailed kites.  Could only find a Swallow-tailed Kite, several Eastern Meadowlarks and a couple of Red-shouldered Hawks. As we were heading back to the main road I believe I spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker fly across the road into some live oaks. My view was very fleeting, but I can not come up with anyother possibility.  The thing is that these woodpeckers are not found in the Glades. I did report it on EBird, but as it was only an anecdotal observation and without a photo, video or a report from a birder with more cred than I have, the sighting can not be excepted.

White-crowned Pigeon on Aerojet Road

Our final stop was on Aerojet Road.  Did not have much to add here White-crowned Pigeon, Mourning Doves, Common Ground Dove, Pileated Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Gray Kingbird, American Crow, Northern Mockingbird and more Red-winged Blckbirds

Another good road trip.  Found some good birds and missed a few others.

1 comment:

  1. The Red-headed Woodpecker was reportedly seen by a neighbor here in Fort Myers a couple of weeks ago and by a workmate that lives in Cape Coral yesterday. I think it's very possible that's what you saw, Tom.