Monday, January 23, 2012

Ash-throated Flycatcher at Lucky Hammock

Thursday, January 19th

Peacock seen along Hamlin Mills Road in Redlands
A very enlarged photo of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Missed on some of the flycatchers last week in Dade County, well I went back today with better success.

 Also stopped at new venue for me - Castellow Hammock Preserve and Nature Center , near Homestead. As I was searching for the preserve, came across a Peacock along side the road. A very beautiful bird. At Castellow Hammock the butterfly garden featured several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and a Lifer in a Rufous Hummingbird. Other birds seen here included Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a pair of White-eyed Vireos, Cardinals, White-winged Doves, a Monk Parakeet and Fish Crows.  An unidentified flight of parrots passed overhead as well.

Broad-winged Hawk
Spent the remainder of the day in the Everglades National Park and in the vicinity of Lucky Hammock. Initially I was disappointed with not locating the various flycatchers that have been found near  Lucky Hammock.  Checked the C-111 canal and the hammock site several times before entering the park in search of the specialities.  Eventually I did locate four Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and a Western Kingbird. Was also able to add Eastern Meadowlark, Palm Warblers, House Wrens, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a pair of Swainsen's Hawks, a Northern Harrier and a female Painted Bunting.  But was still missing short-tailed hawk, white-tailed kite, vermilion flycatcher and ash-throated flycatcher.

Stopped at Royal Hammock, in the park, were I ran into a couple of birders from Michigan I first met at Bunche Beach on New Years Day.  They quickly put be onto an American Bittern.  Also found the usual suspects on the Ahinga Trail.
American Bittern

Great Egret

Wood Stork

American Alligator

Other stops in the park included a short walk on the Long Pine Trail to look for nuthatches.  Only got Yellow-rumped Warblers and a calling Eastern Bluebird. Checked the Research Road area for hawks and white-tailed kites, but just got Eastern Meadowlarks, American Kestrels and American Crows. At Paurotis Pond had a couple of flying Roseate Spoonbills. At Mrazek Pond had a lot of activity with feeding Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebes and the usual waders. At the Flamingo campgrounds had a few gulls, a pair of Savannah Sparrows and a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers. One of the flycatchers I was questioning could be a brown-crested flycatcher.  Just can't be sure, but one had been reported in the area earlier. Could not get a photo.

Hurried back from Flamingo to try to get back to Lucky Hammock for one more shot at the missed flycatchers before dark. Plus a shot a the reported lesser nighthawks there. Could have stayed at the campgrounds for the nighthawks and maybe for the reported black rails on the nearby coastal trail, but my goal today was the ash-throated flycatcher.

Did make a quick recheck at C-111 canal and yes the Vermilion Flycatcher was waiting. Rechecked the entrance to the Lucky hammock and did see the Western Kingbird and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers  again, but not the Ash-throated Flycatcher. Set up to wait for the nighhawks and met another birder named Julie doing likewise. She had just see the flycatcher and gave me great instructions and the bird was easily, but briefly seen. Two Lifers in one day. As for the nighthawks, they were a no-show on this day.  Did find a Barred Owl though. It was a long and rewarding day.

Several American flamingos have been located in Everglades National Park recently, please review the link to a report by Larry Manfredi.

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