I have birded all of the spots on Wes Biggs's famous Central Florida Hotspots tour, but had never actually run the trip myself. On Day 3, Jim Eager and I joined Dave Goodwin to run this trip while Wes worked on Lake Okeechobee.
The trip was pretty successful. Everyone was safe, had a good time, and got to see some great birds. What more could you ask for? The weather was not too terribly cooperative at first as we were socked in a fog back, everywhere we went. Not too long after sunrise, the fog lifted and we had beautiful weather the rest of the day. Most of the birds cooperated. Red-cockaded woodpeckers were at their post. One bird was roosting outside a cavity, something I hadn't seen before. Young birds will sometimes roost on trees, outside cavities, until they are able to fashion a cavity for themselves. For the second day in a row, and ever, I was able to put a scope on a Brown-headed nuthatch for several minutes. Bachman's sparrows were somewhat vocal, but not visible for the third day in a row.
Whooping cranes were in the appointed place. We had to wait for the bird to take it's head out of the cattle feeding trough before we could get proper views.
Overstreet road failed to produce Red-headed woodpeckers, but did produce a nice Crested caracara. The landing failed to produce the Long-billed curlew that shows from time to time. We did have nice views of Snail kite and a juvenile Northern harrier for comparison.
Lunch at Forever Florida (Florida EcoTours) was very good. I sat on the porch with some of the crew while Dave and Jim took the other folks around the grounds to look at warblers and other songbirds.
Our last stop was a bit of a dud. Florida scrub jays are long gone from the site and the snags have decayed to the point that Red-headed woodpeckers have abandoned the area. Perhaps they will run the tour differently tomorrow.
We got back at 4PM on the dot, exactly on schedule.