Birding/ Bird watching in Florida, USA



Bird watching in Florida - Day 2

Drive to Key West to visit bird watching areas recommended on The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail web page.

• Big Pine Key: National Key Deer Refuge: Blue Hole
• Big Pine Key: National Key Deer Refuge: Jack Watson and Fred Mannillo Trails
• Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden
• Key West: Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
• Bahia Honda Key: Bahia Honda State Park
• Marathon: Crane Point Museum and Nature Center
• Marathon: Curry Hammock State Park
• Long Key: Long Key State Park
• Key Largo: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
• Key Largo: Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park


After leaving the visitor centre driving back to my hotel Best Western Gateway to the Keys

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail


Will take about three hours to drive to Key West and as most of the spots open at 8 o'clock I decided to drive to Big Pine Key, about two hours to get there. Then I will work my way to Key West and then I will take the sites north of Big Pine Key when driving back to my hotel “Best Western Gateway to the Keys”


Key

noun a low-lying island or reef, especially in the Caribbean. Compare with CAY. ORIGIN late 17th cent.: from Spanish cayo ‘shoal, reef’, influenced by QUAY.

Thursday 30th of March 2023 and I will drive to Key West and I will stop at some of the recommended birding sites at the The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail web page. They have an The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trailexcellent TRIP PLANNER on their web page.

I will drive to Big Pine Key and the first stop will be the eBird hotspot: Big Pine Key--Blue Hole. I left the hotel 10 minutes before 6 o'clock in the morning. It was pitch dark when I left but it is easy to find the place, just follow Highway #1 that goes all the way down to Key West.

The highway passes my hotel, Best Western Gateway to the Keys so I never had to leave the road. It was pitch dark when I reached the first “key”, Key Largo.

Birding/ Bird watching in Florida, USA
Driving south on highway #1

Birding/ Bird watching in Florida, USA
Driving south on highway #1

Birding/ Bird watching in Florida, USA
Driving south on highway #1

Birding/ Bird watching in Florida, USA
Driving south on highway #1

Birding/ Bird watching in Florida, USA
Driving south on highway #1

Birding/ Bird watching in Florida, USA
Reaching the Blue Hole on Big Pine Key

National Key Deer Refuge: Jack Watson and Fred Mannillo Trails

Description:
These short trails are complimentary in their exposure of different habitats within the refuge. Blue Hole Trail is 0.25 miles long and partially circles one of the few bodies of fresh water on Big Pine Key, a feature that not only attracts Green Herons and Belted Kingfishers, but also brings in migrating warblers, vireos and thrushes.

Birds:
Black-whiskered Vireo, Short-tailed Hawk, White Crowned Pigeo

From The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

National Key Deer Refuge: Blue Hole

Description:
Blue Hole Trail is 0.25 miles long and partially circles one of the few bodies of fresh water on Big Pine Key, a feature that not only attracts Green Herons and Belted Kingfishers, but also brings in migrating warblers, vireos and thrushes.

Birds:
Antillean Nighthawk, Black-whiskered Vireo, Short-tailed Hawk, White Crowned Pigeon

From The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

I park the car and it is about 30 meters to the platform overlooking the “Blue Hole” and I spot some Green Herons and it looks like they have a nest. Two of them looks to be fighting and one of them takes off.

I start to walk around the pond but half way the trail is blocked, they have closed the trail to keep the wild life undisturbed.

Birding/ Bird watching at the Blue Hole the in Florida, USA
Blue Hole from the platform

Birding/ Bird watching at the Blue Hole the in Florida, USA
Blue Hole from the platform


Green Heron.Butorides virescens

Birding/ Bird watching at the Blue Hole the in Florida, USA
Alligator

Birding/ Bird watching at the Blue Hole the in Florida, USA
Trail is closed

Common Grackle, Quiscalus quiscula

Listen to the Common Grackle

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder. High pass filter applied with Audacity

Bird sitting on top of a telephone pole above me


www.xeno-canto.org


There are some other people coming to enjoy the Blue Hole and we were talking about birds. I explained where they could see the Green Herons. And I spotted a Common Grackle, yet another bird I had never seen before.

I could not find the second birding spot: Jack Watson and Fred Mannillo Trails as I had no network coverage. So, I went back to the car to continue my drive towards Key West in the south.

There was one Mourning Dove at the parking and I reported it as my second Mourning Dove observation at the Blue Hole in my eBird app before I turned off the app.
Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura, American Mourning Dove, Rain Dove, Turtle Dove

Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura, American Mourning Dove, Rain Dove, Turtle Dove
Mourning Dove


eBird

eBird Report


Big Pine Key--Blue Hole, Monroe, Florida, US
Mar 30, 2023 08:35 - 09:11
Protocol: Traveling
0.39 kilometer(s)
4 species

Mourning Dove 2
American Coot 1
Green Heron 4  Fighting, breeding plumage and looking like they attend a nest
Common Grackle 7

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S132207194

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)

Birding/ Bird watching at the Blue Hole the in Florida, USA
Today's track at eBird hotspot: Big Pine Key--Blue Hole

I left the Blue Hole and I had finished my two first birding spots in one stop as I could not find the Jack Watson and Fred Mannillo Trails. Anyway, my next planned stop will be at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.

Driving south for about 45 minutes and I found the Botanical Garden. I arrived 10 minutes before 10, only half the gate was open and they did not open until 10 o'clock. I entered to see if there was a parking. There were already a couple of cars and people waiting for them to open.

Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

Description:
This 15-acre site offers one of the richest birding experiences in the lower Keys, with 160+ species recorded. Containing tropical hardwood hammock and the only freshwater ponds on Key West and Stock Island, this property is a magnet for resident species such as White-crowned Pigeons and Black-whiskered Vireos. Check the large trees at the entrance for eastern and Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.

Birds:
Antillean Nighthawk, Bald Eagle, Black-whiskered Vireo, Magnificent Frigatebird, Painted Bunting, Short-tailed Hawk, White Crowned Pigeon

From The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

I got out of the car and I discovered a Mockingbird singing from the top of a tree and I got a few pictures and a sound recording. And thanks to an elderly couple coming here to look for birds I could get the ID for the bird.

I had taken a picture of a yellow bird and they gave me the ID: Palm Warbler. A new bird for me and the Mockingbird was not new to me, I had seen many of them yesterday, but now I got the ID of the bird and I could fill up my eBird checklists from yesterday.

Listen to the Northern Mockingbird

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder. High pass filter applied with Audacity

In the top of a tree at the entrance to Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Gardens. I got both pictures and a sound recording and thanks to two visitors to the Botanical Garden I could ID the bird


www.xeno-canto.org

Birding/ Bird watching at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden in Florida, USA
Northern Mockingbird singing on the parking lot

Birding/ Bird watching at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden in Florida, USA
Northern Mockingbird singing on the parking lot

I walk around in the Botanical Garden and I only spot one bird, but I could not ID the bird but it was the same bird that I have seen in the mangroves at West Lake yesterday.

So, the only birds were the two on the parking lot. But it was nice to walk around in the area and it was nice to talk with the two elderly couples that was here to look for birds as well.

Birding/ Bird watching at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden in Florida, USA
Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

Birding/ Bird watching at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden in Florida, USA
Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

Birding/ Bird watching at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden in Florida, USA
Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

Birding/ Bird watching at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden in Florida, USA
Today's track at eBird hotspot: Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

I leave to botanical garden and I continue south on highway #1. I end up in the wrong lane and I have to leave the highway. So, I get a sightseeing tour of Key West and the old city.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Description:
This park is the first dry land that many migrants see on their northward journey, and the last opportunity to fuel up when heading south.

Year-round, this site has hundreds of frigatebirds, shorebirds and seabirds that congregate on the seawall and breakwaters.

Rarities occur here frequently, species recorded include Loggerhead Kingbird (2007), Lazuli Bunting (2014) and Bahama Mockingbird (2014).

Birds:
Antillean Nighthawk, Black Skimmer, Black-whiskered Vireo, Magnificent Frigatebird, Mangrove Cuckoo, Painted Bunting, Short-tailed Hawk, White Crowned Pigeon

From The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

I drive through the city and I end up at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. Seems to be a popular recreational area and many people to come swim on the beach. Well, not swim on the beach, but in the water next to the beach.

Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura, American Mourning Dove, Rain Dove, Turtle Dove
Mourning Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove, Collared Dove, Turkduva, Streptopelia decaocto
Eurasian Collared Dove / Turkduva

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Poor picture, kept for ID purpose only


I pay the 4$ and 50¢ to get in to the park and I find the parking next to the beach. I walk around for 20 minutes before I leave, it is a long drive back to my hotel Best Western Gateway to the Keys. And I will make more stops so it is time to leave.

Birding/ Bird watching at the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Florida, USA
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Birding/ Bird watching at the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Florida, USA
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

eBird

eBird Report

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic SP, Monroe, Florida, US
Mar 30, 2023 11:28 - 11:50
Protocol: Traveling
0.47 kilometer(s)
4 species

Collared Dove 1
Mourning Dove 2
Laughing Gull 1
Turkey Vulture 1  Soaring above

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S132219229

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)

Birding/ Bird watching at the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Florida, USA
Today's track at eBird hotspot: Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Leaving Key West and I drive back towards north and next stop is the Bahia Honda State Park. I also need to fill up gas in the car before going back to the hotel. And I am starting to get hungry, but no time to stop at any restaurant.

And having salad and ham back at my hotel is the best for my diet and blood sugar levels.

Bahia Honda State Park

Description:
This site offers the best of Keys birding habitats: tropical hardwood hammock, coastal berm and beach/dune communities.

Walk the two short nature trails at either end of the park, and drive or bike the roadway slowly watching the sea grape and poisonwood trees for White-crowned Pigeons and warblers feeding on the fruits.

Low tide along the beach offers shorebirds and waders in the wrack line.

Birds:
Black-whiskered Vireo, Magnificent Frigatebird, Painted Bunting, White Crowned Pigeon

From The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail


I spot one Grey Catbird just before the entrance gate and I stop to try to get a picture, but I failed as the bird was jumping around in the foliage. I pay the 4$ 50¢: entrance fee and I start to drive along the coast line. I see one Red-breasted Merganser fishing but too far away for any good pictures.

The park is a camping and beach area so here are many visitors. It is very hot and not many birds, in the morning hours there are much more birds out and about, mid-day and they take cover in the shadow.

Same in the Everglades yesterday, many birds in the morning, but from lunch until afternoon not many birds to be seen. Of course, in the wetlands there are birds all the time.

Red-breasted Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Poor picture, kept for ID purpose only

eBird

eBird Report


Bahia Honda SP, Monroe, Florida, US
Mar 30, 2023 13:00 - 13:18
Protocol: Traveling
4.12 kilometer(s)
5 species (+1 other taxa)

Red-breasted Merganser 1
Mourning Dove 1
gull sp. 1  Not possible to ID
Great White Egret 1
Osprey 1  Diving for a fish
Grey Catbird 1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S132227514

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)

Birding/ Bird watching at Bahia Honda SP in Florida, USA
Today's track at eBird hotspot: Bahia Honda SP

I continue north and the next stop will be at the Crane Point Museum and Nature Center. I expect to arrive there around 13 thirty according to the GPS. So, I made a decision to go back to my hotel when I was ready with the bird watching at Crane Point Museum and Nature Center.

So, I will skip the below hotspots:
• Curry Hammock State Park

• Long Key State Park

• John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

• Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

I was a bit too optimistic when I made up my plan. I wake up at 4 and I leave around 6 and I don't want to spend all the time bird watching. Back at the hotel around 5 o'clock for salad and ham with tea. And in bed between nine and ten.

Crane Point Museum and Nature Center

Description:
This 63-acre site is a tropical oasis amidst the development in the middle Keys.

Thatch palm and tropical hardwood hammock, along with occasional freshwater ponds, provide habitat for both resident and migrating warblers, vireos, tanagers and thrushes. White-crowned Pigeons can be found in the canopies looking for poisonwood berries.

A trail loop system with educational signage takes you through four hammock types.

Birds:
Black-whiskered Vireo, Magnificent Frigatebird, Painted Bunting, White Crowned Pigeon

From The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

I park the car and you enter the park through a souvenir shop where you pay the 15$ entrance fee. I walk along the trail and the sun is ponding and it is very hot. I don't see any birds but after 100 meters or so and I can hear one Northern Cardinal.

I was happy to get at least one recording and some pictures out of the visit to the Crane Point Museum and Nature Center.

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, Redbird, Common Cardinal, Red Cardinal, Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, Redbird, Common Cardinal, Red Cardinal, Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, Redbird, Common Cardinal, Red Cardinal, Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, Redbird, Common Cardinal, Red Cardinal, Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Listen to the Northern Cardinal

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder. High pass filter applied with Audacity

In the bushes next to the trail


www.xeno-canto.org

I reach the sea and I spot one pelican flying by over the water. There were maybe 8 visitors that I ran in to and no one had seen any birds. Itis too hot.

I decided to walk back to the souvenir shop and to drive back to my hotel. And I was thirsty and tired after walking around in the blazing heat.

Birding/ Bird watching at Crane Point Museum and Nature Center in Florida, USA
Crane Point Museum and Nature Center

Birding/ Bird watching at Crane Point Museum and Nature Center in Florida, USA
Crane Point Museum and Nature Center

eBird

eBird Report


Crane Point Museums & Nature Center, Monroe, Florida, US
Mar 30, 2023 13:44 - 14:45
Protocol: Traveling
1.89 kilometer(s)
4 species

Collared Dove 1
Mourning Dove 1
American White Pelican 1
Northern Cardinal 1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S132234212

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)

Birding/ Bird watching at Crane Point Museum and Nature Center in Florida, USA
Today's track at eBird hotspot: Crane Point Museum and Nature Center

I stop to fill up gas in the car and I drive north, just to follow highway #1 and I will end up at the hotel. I expect to be back around 5 o'clock. Approaching the mainland and there were long queues and it was almost like a stand still.

But when we had passed the last bridge, it was soon OK again and I was hauling arse and I was soon parking the car outside my room

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, Gråsparv, นกกระจอกใหญ่

I spotted a couple of House Sparrows on the parking and I tried to take some photos of the birds and it turned out to be not as easy as I had expected. I will be back in the Everglades National Park tomorrow.

Just click HERE to find out how that turns out.

eBird

eBird Trip Report

Since April 2023 eBird offer a new feature, to create Trip Reports. At least this is when I first heard of this feature and I have decided to make the eBird Trip Reports instead of my list of OBSERVED birds.

And of course, this also means that I will HAVE TO go back and do the same for my old birding adventures, WHEN I HAVE THE TIME!

Today's Trip Report: Bird watching in Southern Florida - Day 2 | Click HERE

Download | PDF

Lifers
Icons for lifers used in the eBird trip reports

eBirdSpecies lifer: First time that someone observes a species in their life

eBirdPhoto lifer: First time that someone photographs a species in their life

eBirdAudio lifer: First time that someone audio records a species in their life

Exotic species
Exotic species flags differentiate locally introduced species from native species.

eBirdNaturalized: Exotic population is self-sustaining, breeding in the wild, persisting for many years, and not maintained through ongoing releases (including vagrants from Naturalized populations). These count in official eBird totals and, where applicable, have been accepted by regional bird records committee(s).

eBirdProvisional: Either: 1) member of exotic population that is breeding in the wild, self-propagating, and has persisted for multiple years, but not yet Naturalized; 2) rarity of uncertain provenance, with natural vagrancy or captive provenance both considered plausible.

When applicable, eBird generally defers to bird records committees for records formally considered to be of "uncertain provenance". Provisional species count in official eBird totals.

eBirdEscapee: Exotic species known or suspected to be escaped or released, including those that have
bred but don't yet fulfill the criteria for Provisional. Escapee exotics do not count in official eBird totals.





       
                  
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
Jiffy (also jiff)

noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.

So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!

Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas

Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!

Haga usted dice el español? No hay problema! Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!

Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra

Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!

คุณพูดภาษาไทยได้ไหม ไม่มีปัญหา ถ้าคุณต้องการไปหน้าถัดไป ให้กดปุ่ม “Next” ข้างบนนี้

Вы говорите по-русски? Просто нажмите синюю кнопку "Next" с левой стороны и Вы моментально переместитесь на следующую страницу!

E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.

Flag of Skåne / Skånska flaggan Well, the flag of Skåne, just a BONUS flag.


                                       

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