Friday, January 11, 2013

All Work and No Play

   I had the opportunity Wednesday to take a group of people from the Marriott Doral Villas out on Tamiami Trail into the Everglades. Our first stop was the Miccosukee Indian Village just west of Shark Valley. While they were enjoying a gator wrestling demonstration I worked the back boardwalk looking for the resident Limpkin. This bird is usually very dependable and responds well to tapes. I gave it a try but never got a response. As I was getting ready to give up and walk back to meet with my group a KING RAIL gave its contact call. What a surprise! I was not expecting that at all. I gathered my group and took them a little further west to the famous Snail Kite spot. I had seen them there in the past and was really hoping today would be my day. After a Northern Harrier gave me a complete heart attack and everyone in the van thought I was nuts we began making our way back east. We made a couple more stops before getting back to the time share. Everyone was happy and I managed to get another bird for the year. 

The usual waders were in attendance along with the King Rail

  After dropping everyone off I made a quick pit stop before going back to the park and picking up my car. Carlos Sanchez had found a couple Bronzed Cowbirds at La Carreta Restaurant on Bird Road years ago and the population seems to be growing every year. I originally saw them when he first reported the sighting and I remember thinking this would never last. When I arrived Wednesday afternoon they were everywhere. Of course they were still out numbered by the Boat-tailed Grackles... but barely! I couldn't believe how well it seemed like they were doing. It was a little hot when I pulled in and I found several birds beating the heat by staying in the shade under parked cars. What a crazy sight!

So many birds found in this parking lot!

  From there I went to the park grabbed my car and went home to get ready for the next day. My plan was to spend the next couple mornings looking for the Thick-billed Vireo Roberto "Toe" Torres had found back in November during the Deering goes to the Birds festival morning bird walk.  I made it in the next day (Thursday, January 10) at 6:45am and began looking. I started at the original spot where it was seen and hung around for a bit. I pished in every manner I could think of. After getting no response I started walking down the paved path along with west side of Deering Estate hoping for the bird. This would be four Caribbean vagrants in the three days! By 9 am I did not see/hear anything and made my way to lead the school group on a nature hike. I did pick up Spotted Sandpiper during the tour but not much else.

These orchids can be found all over the estate

 Unfortunately today (Friday, January 11) I was not able to start at Deering but did get to check out A.D. Barnes Park bright and early. After trying in vain to call out several owl rarities I started making rounds around the park. Most of the birds seen were repeats but I did come across a Pine Warbler which is a new tick for the year. After leading my walks for the day I shot down south to try and relocate the Ash-throated Flycatcher. I parked outside of Lucky Hammock and began walking in. Right off the bat the bird gave it's unmistakable KA-BRICK call. I got a great look at it but as soon as I pulled the camera up to take a picture the bird flushed into the hammock and never came back out. Even though it did continously vocalize... kinda like it was laughing at me. By the end of today my final tally is 123 (2 heard only - Brown-crested Flycatcher and King Rail) native species not counting the 4 ABA countable exotics. Tomorrow I will be leading a morning bird walk at Deering Estate and will be trying once again for the Thick-billed Vireo!

Not exactly a picture of the Ash-throated but it'll have to do for now


  1. I LOVE reading your posts! Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you!