|King Rail seen in the Everglades Ag Area. Photo by Bob Pelkey|
An hour before dawn Bob Pelkey picked me up for the two hour drive out to the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Belle Glade in West Palm County. I was on a return trip to bird the flooded sugar cane fields and sod farms for the migrants returning to Florida from parts way-up-north. Such as Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Phalaropes and Gull-billed Terns.
First stop was at the 6-Mile Bend Sod Farm, which again had little activity. Basically seen were Barn Swallows, Killdeer and a pair of Black-necked Stilts. Next stop was a side road off of Sam Senter Road were got excellent views of a pair of King Rails. Barn Swallows were everywhere.
Our best stop was a flooded field about three miles down Brown's Farm Road. We dipped here on any stilt sandpipers, which had been very numerous on an earlier visit to this spot.I believe that the water level had risen just enough to dissuade many of the shorebirds seen here back then. We had far fewer Short-billed Dowitcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs. But we did add a Pectoral Sandpiper, Least and Western Sandpipers, a Belted Kingfisher, Wood Storks, more Barn Swallows, Roseate Spoonbills, Glossy and White Ibis, several Gull-billed, Black and Least Terns, Laughing Gulls, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Mottled Ducks, Common Nighthawks, a Least Bittern, Green Herons, Great Blue Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, Yellow-crowned Night-herons, Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds.
Our visit to the sod farms along Rt 27 did not offer much. Best bird was a lone Tree Swallow, as we dipped on any uplands sandpiper. And at the nearby Bolles Canal, at a distant flooded field, requiring a spotting scope, we added American White Pelicans as well as everything already seen.
On the way back to Ft Myers we added Swallow-tailed Kites, a Pied-billed Grebe and Crested Caracaras. But Bob wanted to introduce me to a venue I hadn't visited before. It was Dinner Island Ranch WMA. It is southwest of Clewiston in southern Hendry County and Bob had thoroughly enjoyed visiting back in April. We drove the main road encountering several bow hunters here for a four day bow hunting season. Here we added Sandhill Cranes, Northern Bobwhites, Red-shouldered Hawks, a Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Meadowlarks, American Crow, a Limpkin and a Purple Gallinule.
Our Day List - (66)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Northern Bobwhite, Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Stork, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, American White Pelican, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Snail Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, King Rail, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Least Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Black Tern, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Common Nighthawk, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Sparrow