I got up early and decided to take a quick drive around to look for exotics. I did succeed in finding a couple mynas but I was in traffic and didn’t get enough of a view to say Hill or Common. Otherwise, two distant parrots were it (plus Muscovy, but I’m waiting for some in Texas). Stopping at a market for snacks and water, I watched 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks overhead.
After a stop at the hotel for breakfast and to gather up my things, I headed for the Everglades. I should have stopped on the way for a displaying cowbird (guessing Bronzed) but didn’t bother. It was still very windy and there wasn’t much along the road.
After passing the entrance gate (and a quick stop for a low Red-shouldered Hawk), I headed to the Royal Palm area. On the Anhinga Trail, there were all sorts of waterbirds, plus many Black Vultures.
(That last one’s a video of the world’s dumbest vulture, click through to watch)
I also walked the Limbo Gumbo Trail, which was pretty quiet, but I did see a Cyrano Darner.
Moving on, I stopped again at the Mahogany Hammock, which was too windy. There were a few Four-spotted Pennants and an Everglades Sprite, but birds were very limited.
I continued on towards the various ponds, picking up my first lifer on the way when several Swallow-tailed Kites flew over. Most of the ponds were pretty empty, but there were a ton of birds at Mrazek. Unfortunately it was too windy for the scope, but I picked out a variety of shorebirds including a Black-necked Stilt and both yellowlegs and various dabbling ducks.
Reaching Flamingo, I walked the Eco Pond, which was loaded with Great Southern Whites (and lots of calling White-eyed Vireos) plus a few more waders. Getting hungry (it was after 12:00), I headed back to Flamingo. Although right into the wind, I noticed the shorebird roost was visible and that the tide was coming in and birds were leaving. I ran back for the scope and picked out a few Marbled Godwits among the Willets, pelicans, and Laughing Gulls but most of the birds left before I could go through them.
I debated stopping at the cafe, but instead grabbed an ice cream sandwich from the store and headed to the Rowdy Bend Trail, where a Black-throated Gray Warbler had been reported. It was very hot by now and there wasn’t much activity. In fact, I saw about 10 birds total. Five of them were Swallow-tailed Kites, which allowed for some photos.
I also had some decent bugs including a Cassius Blue and several Needham’s Skimmers.
From here, I headed out and began the drive to Key West. On the way, kingfishers were on the wires like Kestrels in south Texas but there wasn’t too much else of note. I eventually needed a stop and pulled into the nature trail of the Key Deer NWR. It had recently burned and was late afternoon and almost nothing was around. I did see one Saddlebags that appeared to be an Antillean but very little else.
Reaching Key West, I found the hotel and learned that there was a shuttle service to downtown. After showering, I hopped on and followed the crowd to BO’s Fish Wagon. I had the grouper sandwich, which was good although tough to tell how different it was. After eating, I caught the shuttle back (and got the doors closed on my hand in the process, mostly my fault) and went pretty much straight to bed.