Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mar 2 (Day 61) - 11(!) new species, 3 new friends, and an amateur ID mistake

OK, let's just dispense with the bad right away. I told you early on this year that I would be completely honest with you regarding bird identification. I realized today that I made the most amateur of mistakes two days ago. I thought I heard a Barred owl when in fact I heard a White-winged dove. I realized this today the instant I saw and heard a White-winged dove call. I thought the alleged Barred owl call sounded off, but I figured I just did not hear it perfectly since it was windy and there was construction going on across the canal from where I was birding. I am just glad I realized this now. So, I am changing bird #215 from Barred owl to White-winged dove. Luckily, I never claimed to be perfect!

Now that I have dealt with this anomaly, I am pleased to report that today was another outstanding day in South Florida. I woke early and pedaled a quick 8 miles to the Green Cay Wetlands. This spot is superficially similar to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands that I visited yesterday; The two spots are actually less than a mile apart. Green Cay today, however, held a wider variety of birds. This is best reflected by the fact that I was able to add 8 new birds this morning! These were:

#218 - Purple martin
#219 - American bittern
#220 - Purple swamphen - LIFER
#221 - Least bittern
#222 - Least sandpiper
#223 - Sora
#224 - Solitary sandpiper
#225 - Yellow-breasted chat
#226 - Black-and-white warbler

Some of these birds were so close to the boardwalk so at to make photographing them well impossible. The chat was behind a fenced off area.

American bittern

Sora - 1 of 4 I saw today

 Least Bittern

Yellow-breasted chat

Solitary sandpiper

However, a few species did present themselves nicely for photos. Most notable in this group was my lifer Purple swamphen. This large, introduced rail looks superficially like a very large large Purple gallinule. The Swamphen has a more restricted range, and is, as of last year, ABA countable in South Florida.

Purple Swamphen

 Male Blue-winged teal

Female Blue-winged teal

White ibis

 Male Blue-winged teal again

Glossy ibis

Common moorhen

Birds were only part of the story this morning. As I was photographing, a guy grabbed me on the boardwalk and shouted "You're the bike guy!" Since my cover was blown, I took a break from photographing to hold court for the other birders. I ended up spending the morning with 3 of them: Tom Smith, Allan Fischer, and Linda Fell. We had a good time yucking it up as we birded. Tom is doing his own Green Big Year in Palm Beach County, and Linda had recorded at astounding 193 species at Green Cay. Allan was very helpful in pointing out the continuing chat at the entrance to the park. Once again, it shows that there is no beating local knowledge when it comes to bird finding. When all was said and done, Tom actually invited me to stay at his house tonight - I am writing this from his couch. He is lucky enough to live only 2 miles from Green Cay and Wakodahatchee! I am always looking for birders to host me, so if you're interested, please contact me. I will try to be better about posting my weekend birding plans so that folks can come and join me if they are in the areas where I plan to bird. 

Tom, Allan, Linda

Later in the day Tom and I headed over to the Wakodahatchee Wetland again. The birds were fairly similar to yesterday with two very big exceptions. The first was the appearance of 1 of the 3 Neotropic cormorants (#227) than have been seen on-and-off for the last few weeks. The second of which was 2 flyby Roseate spoonbills (#228) right at the end of the day. I was able to manage a shot of the cormorant, but the spoonbills escaped photographic capture. I threw in a few additional heron shots as well.

Green heron

Cattle egret

Tomorrow I will head south to Ft. Lauderdale for a day. I will then zip further south to Miami where the hunt for introduced exotics will continue.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dorian: Just picked up your blog by reading the ABA report. Sounds like a great trip. I am enjoying your writing and technical skills at posting. I know you are presently heading west in Florida. I think you may have been a little too early for Mangrove Cuckoo in South Florida. I spent two winters in key largo at the top of the keys, and would find them pretty regularly in a subdivision near there called Carrysfort Circle, but not until the beginning of April. Anyway, best of the luck the rest of the way. I live in the South Okanagan region of British Columbia. You probably won't make it that far north on your odyssey, but if you do I would be happy to host you. Will be following your blog. Cheers, Thor

    Thor Manson
    Oliver, B.C. Canada