Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Visit to the Conch Republic and Vicinities

Friday, May 22nd
Day One

Today is day one of a long weekend to do some birding in the company of wildlife photographer Bob Pelkey. Didn't start out as a Memorial Day holiday. As it was originally scheduled for the first week of May, to take advantage of the ebbing Spring Migration. But logistics forced this unfortunate change. Home base was in Florida City were room rates were far more realistic than in the Keys.
American Crocodile in Everglades National Park

It has become an annual event to head to the Florida Keys in the Spring to find several of the specialties that are usually only seen there. It started by chasing Antillean Nighthawks and Rosette Terns that are usually found in town of Marathon. But it has now expanded to a four day search for specialties from Dry Tortugas National Park west of Key West up to the urban environments of Miami. 

Leaving Ft Myers, we crossed the state along Alligator Alley watching the birds and especially Black-crowned Night-herons and Swallow-tailed Kites. First stop was on Sherman Road just off Krone near Pembroke Pines to look for Purple Swamphens at Chapel Trails park. Upon arrival I found that my memory card was missing for my camera so I missed getting shots of a Brown Basilisk lizard seen at the start of the board walk or of the swamphens.
Black-necked Stilt near Everglades National Park
 After a stop to replace the missing memory card we made the next stop to neighborhood just north of the Kendall Baptist Hospital for a search for Red-whisked Bulbuls. This is one of the best places to search for these exotic birds and in my dozens of attempts I usually dip on seeing any. Today we sighted three.  Looks like it could be a good start for the weekend.
Green Heron at the Kendall baptist Hospital campus

Red-whiskered Bulbuls in Kendall
 At the Baptist Hospital campus the expected flock of Mitred Parakeets were noisily moving around the property. The ponds also had the usual waders and waterfowl. Didn't see any Egyptian geese but the Muscovy ducks had lots of ducklings.

Next was a stop at Mathesson Park in Coral Gables. Looking for exotics or any lingering migrants. Probably arrived too late in the day as the place was very quite. Best birds here were a pair of Yellow-Chevroned Parakeets and hearing a calling Peafowl
We ended the day visiting Everglades National Park. The goal here was to look for white-tailed kite along Research Road.
We only found American Crows and Eastern Meadowlarks, dipping on the kites.

We headed directly to the end of the road to its terminus at Flamingo. Not very birdy but find Prairie Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper, a Willet, Osprey Brown Pelicans and raucous bottle-nosed dolphins thrashing about as they fish for their supper.

At the marina, an American crocodile came out almost on cue for photographs and a Shiny Cowbird briefly showed with a flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds.
Mitred Parakeet are commonly found at Kendall baptist Hospital campus

Ended the day in Florida City were we watched Gray Kingbirds and Common Mynas

Birds for  Day One
Great Egret at Kendall Baptist Hospital

Swan Goose (Domestic type)
Graylag Goose (Domestic type)

Muscovy Duck
Mallard (Domestic type)
Mottled Duck
Northern Bobwhite
Wood Stork
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron

White Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
Red-shouldered Hawk
King Rail
Purple Swamphen
Black-necked Stilt
Spotted Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Rock Pigeon
White-crowned Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Mitred Parakeet
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Prairie Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Shiny Cowbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow
Black-crowned Night-heron

Common Myna

Gray Kingbird

Yellow-chevroned Parakeets


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