Saturday, February 6, 2016

Florida Part 3 - Feb 2, 2016

The last time I visited Dori, three years ago, we spent a day along Miami Canal Road in Palm Beach County where we had a blast studying Red-tailed Hawks that included a few of the "Krider's" form. Check out that post for many photos of those birds. I was itching to return this year to see what was around. On this day we found nine species of raptor along 15 miles of this road (not counting the two vulture species, nor the Crested Caracaras we had on the ride there), including a few more "Krider's"-like Red-tails.

This road is a ton of fun to bird. I'd highly recommend a winter visit to anyone who is looking for a change-of-pace from the usual south Florida hotspots.

I'm not going to get into the detail I got into last time, but here are a few images of the pale Krider's-like birds. We also had several typical Eastern Red-tails.









Dori's favorite birds of the day, a pair of White-tailed Kites were actively hunting on both sides of the canal.




White-tailed Kites (one with prey)

We also had an all-too-brief flyby of a dark SWAINSON'S HAWK.

Swainson's Hawk going away

As an extra bonus, several of the fields adjacent to the canal were flooded thanks to heavy rain from the week before. In fact, the entire month of January was unusually rainy in south Florida. In some of those fields were many long-legged waders and shorebirds. We counted 86 STILT SANDPIPERS among some 900 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS in one particular field; both of those counts were flagged by eBird. Four ROSEATE SPOONBILLS were also a nice surprise for this location, which, per Dori, should be dry at this time of year.

Anyway, check this place out; it's great if you enjoy raptors. It would be worth the visit for the Red-tails alone. I'd love to spend more time exploring other roads in this part of the state...perhaps next visit.

On the ride back towards North Fort Myers we checked a couple small parks (Limpkins, Wood Storks, etc) and finished at the Zemel Road Landfill in Punta Gorda. The targets at the landfill were two wintering SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS, which we found pretty easily associating with one another (photos will be in next post). An AMERICAN BITTERN foraging along the landfill perimeter fence seemed a bit out of place.

Roseate Spoonbills

Limpkin

American Bittern

Wood Stork
 - NB

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