Tuesday May 26th
The semi-tropical climate in South Florida lends itself well as a new home for exotic plants and animals. A great many are considered to be pests and the most successful can be quite harmful to our local ecology. The rise of the Burmese Python population in the Everglades is a prime example. Ornamental plants and trees have also overtaken local flora like the expansion of the Melaleuca and Brazilian Pepper. Their is a bounty on the Lionfish, which has rapidly prospered on our Florida reefs, upsetting the ecological balance by becoming an aggressive top predator, prolific breeder with no known predators in the Atlantic Ocean. Iguanas have become established in most of South Florida with some getting to be over four feet long.
Not all invasives cause great ecological harm. Just a few minutes ago I spotted the House Gecko that has moved into my apartment. I don't mind its presence at all as he'll consume most any insect pests. Many of the exotic bird species have not become major issues. The Monk Parakeet though builds huge nests artificial structures and have created damage such as electrical outages. But most of the many parrot species in south Florida aren't as disruptive the ecology as originally feared.
This past week-end Bob Pelkey and spent four days birding the Miami and Florida Keys area for exotics and came up with several.
Purple Swamphens - A common native in Africa, southern Europe, much of Asia including Indonesia, and Australia.
|Purple Swamphen at Chapel Trail in Broward Count|
Common Hill Myna - The Common Hill Mynas are a species of starlings and a very popular cage bird coming from the hill regions of southern Asia.
Egyptian Goose - These geese were once considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, but are currently a popular ornamental waterfowl. Escapees and there offspring have become more common in southeast Florida's parks and golf courses.
Muscovy Ducks - The Muscovy Ducks we find all over south Florida are actually feral specimens of domesticated Muscovy ducks.
Mitred Parakeet - Mitred Parakeets come from Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. A large number of these birds can usually be found around the Baptist Hospital in Kendall.
Red-masked Parakeet - Red-masked Parakeets come from the western area of Peru.
Scaly-headed Parrot - Scaly-headed Parrots range from Brazil through Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.
|Scaly-headed Parrot seen on the University of Miami campus|
|White-winged Parakeet at the University of Miami campus.|
|A spiny-tailed Iguana seen at the Snapper Creek Canal|
|Green Iguana seen on Key West|
Other exotics seen included Common Mynas and a Brown Basilisk lizard