|Mangrove Cuckoo at Bunche Beach, Lee County|
Photo by Ruth Parks - February 9th
The Mangrove Cuckoo is a coveted species to locate in South Florida and is just now becoming a species of interest by researchers. Much needs to be learned on behavior, breeding, seasonal migrations etc. on this species. There recent presence in the mangroves at Bunche Beach Preserve, in Lee County this winter has been a pleasant surprise. Usually we find the birds locally, that being Ding Darling WMR on Sanibel Island when vocalization begins in May. There has been an assumption that we only see them here through Spring and Summer, before they return to the Caribbean. Hopefully this pair of birds will stick around.
The photo was taken by Ruth Parks, whose party was able to see and hear two cuckoos. I have been there twice this week to look for it, but only heard a brief croaking at the spot where a party of birders, visiting from Minnesota, had just seen one. These birders were having a successful Florida birding trip with finding Nandays in Ft Myers and LaSarge Flycatcher and Western Spinellis in Miami.
Please note that recordings are discouraged to avoid stressing these birds. It is tempting and I have witnessed their use at Bunche, but the calls could drive them out of the area.
Bunche Beach is a great location for birding for shorebirds and is an important rest stop for migrants.