Friday, February 21, 2014

Feb 21 (Day 52) - Florida bound!

Today I took a much needed rest day and did some serious research on the birds that I need to find in Florida. Right now my plan is to bird my way south along the eastern edge of the state, spend a bunch of time just south of Miami, and then bird my way back up the western side of the state before heading into the panhandle. I will have nearly a full month to track down a lengthy list of birds that I need to find in the state. Here are the most critical. Most of this data was mined out of eBird this afternoon.

Parasitic jaeger - Best crack at this will be Daytona and Ponce Inlet in the next 3-5 days.

Magnificent frigatebird - These have been seen with increasing frequency in southern part of state.
Fulvous whistling-duck - Will look for this west of Palm Beach.
Snail kite - Will try around Loxahatchee area. I could always go to Lake Kissimmee if I miss it.
Short-tailed hawk - Should see one of these overhead somewhere.
Limpkin - I will see this bird.
King rail - Ugh, still chasing this bird but I have a bunch of spots for it.
Purple gallinule - Loxahatchee NWR marsh trail.
Purple swamphenLoxahatchee NWR, Green Cay Wetlands
Wilson's plover - Beaches anywhere, but most likely around Tampa.
Bar-tailed godwit - Continuing bird in Tarpon Springs north of Tampa.
White-crowned pigeon - Neighborhoods south of Miami, Matheson Hammock Park.
White-winged parakeet - Neighborhoods south of Miami.
Black-headed/Nanday parakeet - Boynton Beach or St. Petersburg.
Mangrove cuckoo - This will be the hardest bird for me. There a a few scattered reports.
Barred owl - Should see or hear this somewhere. Could see in other Gulf states too though.
Eastern whip-poor-will - A night ride through Everglades NP might yield this on the road. I am not counting on seeing this bird as I do not know if I will make it this far south.
La Sagra's flycatcher - Continuing bird in Coral Gables.
Gray kingbird - No specific spot for this, just hoping I can find an early returning bird in March. Going to be really tough/lucky.
Common myna - Anywhere south of Palm Beach.
Common hill myna - Around Coral Gables, Matheson Hammock Park.
Florida scrub jay - Merritt Island, Helen and Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary in Brevard.
Red-whiskered bulbul - South Miami suburbs.
Bachman's sparrow - Start singing in March so I should be able to find one on the west coast.
Spot-breasted oriole - Ft Lauderdale neighborhoods, neighborhoods south of Miami.

It looks as though I will be spending at least 3-4 days in South Miami chasing around introduced but countable species. A bike will make the perfect way to do this! There are a host of other birds I would like to find. Most of the following occur elsewhere, and while it would be nice to get them in Florida, it is not imperative that I do so.

Reddish egret

Roseate spoonbill
Yellow-crowned night-heron
Black-bellied whistling-duck
Northern bobwhite
Sandhill crane
Snowy plover
Sandwich tern
Gull-billed tern
Painted bunting

I have a much longer day than anticipated tomorrow as a bridge I needed to cross is closed. That means a 25 mile detour. Sweet.


  1. That is a really ambitious list and I wish you well. What you lack in mobility, maybe you can make up for with all of time you will have in this wonderful birding area!

  2. On the ocean side of FL, I've had good luck for snail kites at Blue Cypress west of Vero Beach and for Bachmann's sparrow (and red-cockaded woodpecker) at Three Lakes WMA west of Melbourne. Good roads with shoulders for riding, too, though I haven't found a big bike ethic among drivers in FL. Good luck.

  3. We were just down to the western coast and saw good birds at the Celery Fields near Sarasota including nanday parakeets, sandhill cranes, roseate spoonbills, tricolored herons, limpkins, etc. We also saw night herons, wood storks, and others at Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Preserve near Naples. The lady at the desk said they were expecting the kites to come back after mid-February. And there seemed to be palm warblers and butterbutts everywhere.

  4. Don't forget Purple Swamphen and Egyptian Goose. The former is already ABA countable and the latter may be countable before the end of the year. Both are readily found in southeastern Florida.

    Nanday Parakeets are not ABA countable along the Atlantic coast, but they're easy to find in greater St. Petersburg area, which you'll be visiting to look for the Bar-tailed Godwit and other species.

    With the exception of Gull-billed Tern, you ought to find all of the species in your secondary list in Florida with little effort.

  5. In early December, purple swamphens could be easily found in the ponds outside of Dolphin Mall. Spot-breasted orioles were near the bookstore on the U of Miami campus too.