Sunday September 22, I was heading to Florida City to meet up with Hank Pfeifer to show Hank some life birds. On the way, I decided to add an easy Dade County tick. Purple swamphens have taken up residence at the Dolphin Mall. The retention ponds along the south side are chock full of Eleocharis which happens to be one of the swamphens' favorite foods. Swamphens nested in the southwest corner of the mall this spring. I dropped in to find most of Miami also at the mall, inexplicably uninterested in the swamphens. I finally found a place to park on the southeast side and set out on a hunt. I found two adults in the southeast side so I did not have to walk clear to the other side. #287. After that I met up with Hank and showed him his life Common myna while we had dinner at the Denny's in Florida City.
Wednesday September 25, I had Travis the Traveling Trenovid (Travis's Blog) for the afternoon. Travis's targets were Snail kite, Shiny cowbird, and Bronzed cowbird. I got Snail kite along US 1 between Florida City and Key Largo in the transitional marshes above the mangrove line. There are many Shiny cowbirds at Larry Manfredi's place in Homestead. I was able to see one from the front yard (I didn't want to confront his psycho dog in the backyard and he was not home) but did not see the Bronzed cowbird that Hank and I saw the other day. I spent some time at Bill Sadowski Park trying for Swainson's warbler for Travis and House finch for me while talking to Rangel Diaz. No lifers or county birds for anyone, but it was nice to see Rangel. Bronzed cowbird finally showed itself at the dump after I checked the nearby Cutler Wetlands. I sure looked at a lot of starlings and Boat-tailed grackles!
Sunday the 29th, I hit a few spots in search of something, anything new for Dade. Rains and NW winds in the night, along with reports of birds around the state gave hope of finding some good birds. Hopes are good things to have. Rains at Matheson Hammock made birding difficult. Lack of birds made it even more difficult. I eventually saw a few Hill mynas and a pair of Yellow-chevroned parakeets. Not much for migrants present. Next on the agenda was Bill Sadowski Park where I still hoped to pick up House finch, along with a migrant tick. I have filled out most of the list with respect to migrant songbirds in Dade, but I still have some relatively easy holes. Acadian flycatcher is probably one of the easiest and most inexplicable misses so far given that I have lots of Alder flycatchers, and a Willow flycatcher. Some missing species are found in certain windows of time. Connecticut warblers pass through primarily in the second week of May. Bay-breasted warblers show in the third week of October. I have yet to catch up with either of these. Golden-winged, Canada, and Nashville warblers are rare fall migrants which I have yet to tick on Dade. There are reports from around the state lately, none from me in Dade or anywhere else. I did see Roberto "Toe" Torres coming down the trail. Toe proved to be a good omen as I saw an Acadian flycatcher when I went back to show him a Ficus tree covered with Virginia creeper. Finally! House finches continue to elude me despite recently reliable spots. They were not at the feeders at Sadowski. Nearby Palmetto Bay Village Center is said to be good for this species. There are some nice trails and mangroves here and Gilligan the American crocodile in the lagoon, but I did not find any House finches.
I checked around the Deering Estate for birding opportunities. It seems interesting, but I was low on energy and decided to wait for another day to pay the money to do a full exploration.
No rare birds, but at least one hole filled on the Dade list, #288.