A morning flight to Ft. Lauderdale via Atlanta was easy (other than the long wait for baggage checkin at Logan) with nothing of note seen. After picking up the car, I headed for Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, where a La Sagra’s Flycatcher (and Great Cormorant) were being seen. Late afternoon wasn’t the best time (plus it was quite windy and there was a shower moving through), but I started down the nature trail and was immediately greeted by a pair of Common Ground-Doves.
Wandering down the trail, I didn’t find a whole lot but did get the first butterflies (Gulf Fritillary and Julia) and dragonflies (all Band-winged Meadowhawks). Birds were pretty few. At the far end of the trail, I found a small flock of warblers including Palm, Black-and-white, Parula, and Prairie. I also had another small bird that had clearly gotten soaked in the rain. My initial impression was Nashville Warbler, but it eventually turned around and had a bill that was way too thick, a Painted Bunting! Unfortunately it didn’t hang around for photos.
After a few loops up and down the trail, I gave up temporarily on the flycatcher and decided to walk over to the lighthouse for the Great Cormorant. The wind was blasting off the water and it was almost impossible to look out. No cormorant to be found, but a Palm Warbler posed nicely.
Another couple loops of the trail only turned up some lizards before I decided to give up and move on.
Things went a bit downhill from here. I decided to head towards Homestead to be close to the Everglades for tomorrow and the route down was straight US-1, which has traffic light every 1/2 mile or so (and it was rush hour). Reaching Homestead, I went looking for a hotel and promptly found that all three I checked had no vacancy. Getting a little worried, I stopped at a McDonald’s and pulled up hotels.com on my phone while eating. I found something reasonable back in Kendall (10-15 miles north) and booked it. I arrived to find that it was a smoking room (although I barely noticed any odor thankfully) and my room was the closest to the highway with minimal soundproofing. It didn’t matter too much, I was tired enough.