Day One - The Keys
Bob Pelkey picked me up at for our annual birding trip to the
Florida Keys. This year we added a day to visit .
Our goals for this trip were for birds primarily found in the Keys including White-crown
Pigeon, Rosette Tern, Antillean Nighthawk, Black-whiskered Vireo, Brown Noddy, Masked
Booby and Shiny Cowbird. Dry
Tortugas National Park
The next stop was three down the road just before
Card Road meets 905. Here we were looking for a neotropic
cormorant that had been reported at this location for the past three days. We didn't
see any cormorants at all, but had good showings of White-crowned Pigeon, Green
Herons, Gray Kingbird and a very
cooperative Common Nighthawk.
Next stop was on Key Largo near were 905 intersects with Highway 1. Dangy Johnson can be a good location for Mangrove Cuckoo and Black-whiskered Vireo. I've seen both here in the past, but not today. Did sight White-crowned Pigeon,
White-eyed Vireo and heard a Yellow-billed
Cuckoo. Bob also located an interesting lizard called a Bark Anole.
|A young White-eyed Vire|
Marathon Government Buildings
Nesting Rosette Terns along with nesting Least Terns can be found this time of year around the Marathon Government Complex. We were succesfull, finally, in locating a targeted species with seeing the Rosette Terns. Magnificent Frigetbirds, Least Terns and Laughing Gulls were also seen here.
|Rosette Terns in Marathon|
Curry Hammock is a small park with access on Little Crawl Key and is know for the annual Fall Hawk Watch located here. We did not see much on our stop. A Gray Kingbird posed for us and a couple of Ground Doves were active, but mostly the activity we saw were the basking Green Iguanas.
|Adult Green Iguana|
|Juvinile Green Iguana|
|Large Green Iguana|
around we scouted out the island
and stopped at Ft Zackary Taylor State Park.
Found the park fairly quiet. A few White-crowned
Pigeons, Least Terns and Common
Grackles. Would have been nice to find some Key West Caribbean
vagrants but mostly found more Green
Iguana. On the island we saw lots of the chickens, Gray Kingbirds, White-crowned
Pigeons and White-winged Doves. Key West
|A scene from Ft Taylor|
Middle Torch Key
Made a stop on
Middle Torch Key
Road, after leaving
as we were returning to Key West Marathon, to look for Black-whiskered Vireos, which we did
find along with more Gray Kingbirds
and a Key Deer.
|Key Deer in velvet|
After checking into the motel in
and getting some rest, we headed over to the nearby airport to await the
arrival of any Antillean Nighthawks
at sun down. As we waited several Laughing
Gulls passed by, plus more White-crowned
Pigeons, Kingbirds, Least Tern and even an unidentified parrot. Finally at we first heard then spotted a
lone Antillean Nighthawk soaring above the airport runway. But it quickly left
the area toward the northeast. By
a pair of Antillean Nighthawks appeared, again, briefly, which ended the day's