Monday, April 26, 2010

One of Those Days

I was off to Key Largo before 7 AM to hunt for mangrove cuckoos. Specifically, I went to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical SP (do you think they could have made that name any longer) because it has been the place where most people are currently looking for and finding the cuckoo. It was a very humid morning because a storm was blowing into the area but did not arrive until about noon. I walked the key areas patiently listening for the bird to call, but none were in the mood. I did get to see 2 new year birds--gray kingbird and black-whiskered vireo. The latter had a red band on its ankle which I observed as it sang loudly over and over again from an exposed perch.

After a tourist place lunch of fish and chips, I drove in the rain back into Miami to have another go at the spot-breasted oriole. I first tried again the neighborhood near Baptist Hospital. I got photos of the hill myna (top) and the red-whiskered bulbul (bottom photo: remember to click on the photo to make it bigger so that you can see the red whisker), but after 90 minutes I was still without an oriole sighting.

I drove on up by the airport to check into my motel and regroup. Since I had broken 500 birds seen for the year, I decided to review the list and discovered I had double counted the northern flicker by accident--I had down both the red, and yellow shafted forms as separate birds which they are not. So I have corrected that error, and reduced the YTD number by 1.

About 5 PM I decided to try for the oriole again at the house that I visited yesterday. Today I was able to meet the owner who had been absent yesterday. She was quite accommodating, and even introduced me to her pet bird. 90 minutes later I again came up empty, grumbling to myself about how much I really dislike bird stakeouts.

So here I am back in the motel having seen today only 4 new birds for the week, but 2 were new year birds bringing the YTD number up to 505. Tomorrow my friend arrives at 9 AM, and we will pick up the hunt for the oriole, the cuckoo and many other birds over the next few days. Stay tuned!

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