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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Everglades Birding Festival continues

Today, we went to Miami with nine birders from the festival.  Sam Fried (http://www.flightsoffancyadventures.com) was co-leader and driver.  We started the day by dipping on the three Caribbean strays that had been seen recently on Cape Florida and Virginia Key.  We had expert help from Angel Abreau who staked out the spot for Banaquit and gave up pointers on where it had been seen.  The Bananaquit had the last word and did not show for us.  We missed the La Sagra's flycatcher on Virginia Key and decided not to even mess with the mountain bikers at the Spindalis site. By the time we got to the "Dog Park" at Matheson, we did not see any Orange-winged parakeets or get very good looks at Common Hill Myna.  We did get a couple of fly by mynas and a ventriloquist myna that we could never get eyes on.  The adult Red-headed woodpecker, very rare in Dade County, was present on a palm tree.

The afternoon highlight was five Red-whiskered bulbuls in Kendalwood.  We abandoned the sight after some brat on a go cart kept running the streets, but we came back to quiet, except for the peculiar chirp of the bulbuls.  An oriole was sighted as well, but it was only a Baltimore, not the hoped for Spot-breasted.

White-eyed parakeets were very aloof at the feeders in Miami Shores.  We were treated to looks at three pairs of Chestnut-fronted macaws which had evidently been spending a lot of time in the palms behind the house.  Many of the fronds were shredded by their big bills.

Good thing we got those macaws, because the Country Club was a dud.  We heard another hill myna in the neighbors' cage.  2-5 Egyptian geese were on the greens.  No parrots came in by the time we had to leave.

Overall, it was a good trip.  The people enjoyed it.  They were safe and comfortable.  They got to see what it is like to dip on a chase and how unpredictable exotics can be in south Florida.  Tomorrow will be a more native adventure, although we will surely see Common myna in Florida City.

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