Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Looking for Exotics

Tuesday, February 16th

Timed today's birding trip to avoid early mornings thunderstorms sweeping across Florida as I traveled eastward on Alligator Alley toward Broward County. By the time I reached Markham Park in Sunrise, by 10 am, the weather conditions were beautiful, but the park closed just as I arrived due 
Spot-breasted Oriole seen in Markham Park in 2015
to high water conditions. I was hoping to re-find the Spot-breasted Orioles Bob Pelkey and I witness last December.  These orioles are ABA countable but are exotics originally from central America. They are beautiful birds.

Next stop was the Chapel Trail Mitigation Area on Sheridan Road in Pembroke Pines.  Here the Gray-headed Swamphens are easily found at close range. We used to call them Purple Swamphens, but recent evaluations have determined that the invasive species we are seeing  in south Florida are the Gray-headed sub-species. The state and federal Fish and Game people had been trying to eradicate  the swamphens before they could grab a foot-hold in the state. Just as they had succeeded with scared ibis. But this is a very successful species that has been expanding in new areas around the world.  The game people have given up on the trapping and the bird is now ABA countable and has expanded as far north as Gainesville. A pair have recently appeared locally at Harns Marsh
Gray-headed Swamphen

Gray-headed Swamphen

From here I visited a site by the Pembroke Lakes Golf Course were I saw a pair of Egyptian Geese with a brood of goslings. These geese have also recently become ABA countable established exotics.  This is another species finding some success in expanding to areas outside there natural range.

Papa Egyptian Goose at Pembroke Pines Golf Course

Momma with her Brood

Egyptian Geese goslings


  1. Great insights and coverage of exotics Tom! I had assumed Spot-breasted Oriole was a vagrant until this article. Is the Swamphen the only countable species?