Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Everglades Agricultural Area

Tuesday, August 4th

The month of August is a good time to investigate the fields, farms and flooded lands of what  is described as the Everglades Agricultural Area, in western Palm Beach County. Bill Pranty in his 'A Birders Guide to Florida' (2005) tells us that these flooded fields attract thousands of  wading birds, migrating shorebirds and  larids. Coveted rare species include uplands sandpiper, buff-breasted sandpiper and Wilson's phalarope. The uplands and buff-breasted sandpipers should appear latter in the month on the sod farms. Today we hoping to find the phalaropes.

American White Pelicans

 These flooded cane fields were our destination today, as Bob Pelkey and I were in search of these seasonal birds.  Our first stop of the day was a visit to the 'cypress stand' along the Miami Canal at its junction of SR-827, at sunrise. The cypress stand is a noted spot for barn owls and I've seen some here in the past. But not today. We did see several Barn Swallows, a couple of Bank Swallows, Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Tricolored Herons and a calling Bobwhite.

Along CR-827 and the bordering Bolles Canal we had calling King Rail, Green Herons, A Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, Common Yellow-Throats, more Bank and Barn Swallows, Killdeer, a Limpkin and a very large Bobcat.
Bobcat seen in the cane fields

Purple Gallinule along the Bolles Canal

Along US-27 we found a large flooded areas featuring Black and Gull-billed Terns, Black-necked Stilts and American White Pelicans. We also found a Caspian Tern, Solitary Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpipers, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.
Solitary Sandpiper

Black Tern

Black Tern

Green Heron
The nearby King Ranch Sod Farm had a few Least and Greater Yellowlegs, more Black-necked Stilts, Pectoral Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers.

Greater Yellowlegs

The Purple Swamphen has just been renamed the Gray-headed Swamphen,
to more accurately describe the particular purple swamphen species seen in south Florida

Black-necked Stilt

Pair of Black Terns

Black Tern

Roseate Spoonbill

Common Nighthawk
Along CR-880, just before reaching Brown's Farm Road were a dozen or so Cliff Swallows lining the telephone lines. Further up at the 6-Mile Bend Sod Farm we scanned for any grass peeps, only finding a lone Killdeer and single Sandhill Crane.

Our final, and very fruitful stop was a series, of what appeared to be, formerly flooded, but now muddy and wet fields along Brown's Farm Road. It had to have been this location that two days ago, a pair of Wilson's phalaropes were reported. We did not find any but there were thousands of birds present. Waders were here in huge numbers including Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Tricolored Herons, Green Herons, Cattle Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night-herons. Migrating shorebirds included Least and Western Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitchers, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, American Avocets and hundreds of Black-necked Stilts, many with young of various stages of growth.
Wood Storks

Glossy Ibis

Pectoral Sandpiper

American Avocet with Black-necked Stilt

American Avocets

American Avocet

Black-crowned Night-heron

Others sightings here included Mottled Ducks, American White Pelicans, Bald Eagle, Common Nighthawk, a Black Skimmer, Black Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Barn Swallows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and Boat-tailed Grackles.

1 comment:

  1. This was a very memorable trip, Tom. At appropriate times, the EAA is a boon for wildlife observation. I enjoyed your report. Great documentation. Very much looking forward to the next trip.