Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 51--More South Florida

I checked out several birding locations on what was a sunny, low 70's day here in south Florida. I saw the sun come up at Bunche Beach which is on the mainland just across from Sanibel Island. Lots of shorebirds including several piping plovers--a new bird for the year. Also black skimmers, snowy, great and reddish egrets. They were not close enough to photograph, so the blog shot above is of a limpkin, another Florida specialty.

On the causeway bridge to Sanibel I got good looks at several royal terns--also a new year bird. As I mentioned yesterday, Ding Darling NWR was one of the places back in the early 70's that cemented my love of bird watching. Today the refuge was not all that full of birds, so after doing the 5 mile drive and walking 1 of the dikes for 3 miles, I headed down to a new place on Marco Island--Tiger Tail Beach. This proved to be excellent since I hit it just past low tide. There was an opportunity to study several shorebirds, and I picked up wilson's plover, semipalmated plover and short-billed dowitcher for the year list.

I then drove I-75 thru the northern part of the Everglades sea of grass to get back over to the Miami area. I stopped at Markham Park to try again for the snail kite. It was a beautiful place to walk along a raised dike providing great views out over the marsh. After an hour I still was kiteless. Since I wanted to be in Everglades NP tomorrow, I drove on down to Florida City which is very close to the park. One reason to stay here is to look for the common mynas that hang out around the fast food joints on the main drag. Sure enough, this evening I found a flock and added common myna to the year list and my life list.

The day ended with the week list at 81, the YTD number went up to 315, and the new life birds for the year is now up to 9. The Everglades is calling. Stay tuned!

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