Monday, July 31, 2017

The Ag Fields

Monday July 31st

Gull-billed Tern
Today, Tropical Storm Emily has formed in the Gulf and is dumping rain on us. But yesterday I drove out to the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Belle Glade in Palm Beach County. The Ag Fields is an area south of Lake Okeechobee known for growing sugar cane, rice and sod farms. In late Fall the Ag Fields hosts migrating shore birds, terns, swallows and grass peeps.

The purposeful flooding of finished cane fields to kill off the nematodes that damage the sugar cane,  can be a mecca for these migrating birds. It is early yet to make these trips to the area, but there were birds to be seen.  Not a lot of birds yet though. Give it a couple of weeks.
Pectoral Sandpiper

What was found, at the only flooded fields encountered, at the junction of Rt 880 and Browns Farm Road, were several family groups of Black-necked Stilts, several Gull-billed Terns, Least Terns, Lesser Yellowlegs, Dowitchers (not sure if they were short-billed or long-billed), Pectoral, Spotted and Least Sandpipers, Killdeer and a few Laughing Gulls. It shouldn't be long till numbers  and variety increase. Will be looking for Black Terns, White Pelicans, Wilson's Phalaropes, Stilt Sandpipers and Avocets and tons of waders.
Gull-billed Tern

The sod fields were devoid of activity.  The Upland Sandpipers have been here this early in the past, but they'll probably show by mid-August.

Other interesting sightings on the day included numbers of Barn Swallows with a few Cliff and Bank Swallows, Purple Martins, a lone Tree Swallow, Bobwhites, Meadowlarks, Common Nighthawks and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Best sighting of the day was a Barn Owl flying along Boles Canal, and the most interesting sighting was spotting a pair of Common Mynas at the parking lot at the BK restaurant in Belle Glade.

Hopeful, Ill be able to return in two or three weeks.

Barn Swallow

Spotted Sandpiper

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt Chick

Northern Bobwhite

A very young Red-tailed Hawk

A young Red-shouldered Hawk

Least Tern


  1. It was always an exhilarating trip to the Ag Fields with you, Tom. I'm glad you got the Barn Owl on this adventure. Very nice photo documentation.

  2. ...was up there a couple of weeks ago for the Barn Owls.
    Always nice to the variety that shows up in the flooded fields.

  3. Excellent report Tom; loved the Gull-billed Terns!