Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Deep South review (1)

As promised many moons ago, it's time for my review of our spring visit to the States. Hopefully it won't be too long-winded.

The holiday started with a bang. A rarity chase. I'd been following "the latest" from home and I had my fingers crossed that a La Sagra's Flycatcher would hang around for me. In fact there had been a couple of reports but I reckoned the bird seen at Key Largo Hammock State Park was my best bet.

You can't always be in the right place at the right time. This was the case today (14th April) as we arrived at midday as the temperature was reaching 100F! I hate heat...and humidity even more BUT if there's a bird to see...I'll put up with it. Same applies to pelagics come to think of it!

Anyway I left Louise reading in the shade and ventured off to try and find the right spot where the bird had been seen 3 days ago. It was sweltering with (unsurprisingly) not a soul in sight...mad dogs and all that.

Encouragingly the directions I had started to fit into place and after around 15 minutes I reckoned I was at the right spot. I hadn't seen a single bird. I have to admit I was struggling badly with the WAS our first day.

Then a movement, surely not, a looked promising. I only saw it for around a minute but it was long enough to add LA SAGRA'S FLYCATCHER (661) to my ABA list...

Chuffed to grab a pic in the heavy shade and oppressive heat. Unfortunately I couldn't re-locate it but I have to admit I didn't try to hard...I HAD to get outta there! This species is a fairly regular migrant to southern Florida from the West Indies but to connect with it on holiday was a great stroke of luck in the limited time I had.

We then returned to the mainland and headed for the Everglades. My target here was Shiny Cowbird. We drove down to Flamingo and had some late lunch. The SC had been associating with the many common Brown-headed Cowbirds on the car park lawns...shouldn't be too difficult?

It was. There were hundreds of BHC in scattered groups. Yes, it was stifling here too. We drove slowly up and down the lanes, isn't air conditioning wonderful!! Finally success...

VERY Shiny (662)
I'd dipped on this species twice before on previous visits to Florida...this was a BIG tick for me. I hoped to mop up all the Florida specialities I still needed and I'd got off to a great start.

I could relax least for today. We spent the rest of the day enjoying what the Everglades had to offer. A few more images...

canoodling Black Vultures 
American Crocodile - very lucky to see this reclusive species
What a beauty!

More tomorrow...

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