After considering a couple of options we decided on a trip to the Florida keys and Everglades. The trip was really nice and the birding fantastic. This post will highlight the life birds and other amazing things we saw. The next post will talk about all of the warblers we saw. And there might be a third with other interesting birds and non-avian sightings. Plus a few misses.
What better way to start off a trip than to wake up to the squawk of a new bird. We flew into Miami on Saturday night so we stayed in southern Miami that night. First thing next morning Sharon hears this crazy sound and sees two large green birds fly past. By the time I get over there they have disappeared into a few trees. After a few minutes wait they come back again eventually settling in the rain gutter just above our room (Thanks Marriott for the upgrade to the top floor!).
Next on our lifer list is the most amazing bird of the trip. The focus point of the trip was a visit to the Dry Tortugas National Park. We hoped to see a Magnificent Frigatebird out there. It seemed likely but we didn't want to get our hopes up too high. No problems there. From the parking garage in Key West where we were catching the boat to Dry Tortugas we saw our first frigatebird soar overhead. They are amazing birds and one of the largest birds we have on the east coast.
|Male Magnificent Frigatebird|
The next day we visited the Key West Botanical Gardens. A lovely little spot filled with bird life. In between watching warblers and a Western Kingbird, Sharon spotted a hawk overhead. It was a small buteo that was very white underneath with smart outlining on the wings: a Short-tailed Hawk. We would later see the dark morph version but the white one is stunningly beautiful.
Our next big collection of lifers came in the Everglades. We drove from Key West to the Everglades Thursday morning Our first stop was a spot just outside the park entrance called the Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area. As we pull up there was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. his is a bird of the southern plains. A small number winter at the very southern tip of Florida and the keys. The long flowing tail is easily discernible from a distance. But not to worry. On our way back out of the park that evening there were 8 birds sitting on the power lines.
I ended the trip with 9 new life birds including the parakeet and a wild Muscovy Duck.
But in additional to the life birds, we saw lots of summer birds and coastal birds that we seldom get to see in February. But you will have to wait until the next installment for some of those.