Florida 1st 15th June 2002.

 

June is not the usual month for a trip to Florida, but a business trip allowed for a weeks birding in Florida. It was hot, thundery and the mozzys were abundant and biting well, not ideal for birdwatching so I combined it with lots of touristy things, and picked up some good wildlife on the way.

 

Saturday 1st June to Tuesday 4th June

Purely Work no birdwatching at all.

Wednesday 5th June

In the afternoon there was a shuttle launch, so I went and found a suitable spot to watch it, by the A1A bridge. This overlooked a good expanse of water, dolphins were easily spotted and least terns and black skimmers fished, a turnstone was on the shore and there was a double crested cormorant fishing. Meritt Island reserve was closed so I drove back to Orlando. I spotted a sign to Orlando wetlands, and followed it. On arrival a red shouldered hawk was perched on the sign.

Armadillo

Thursday 6th June

A short visit to John Dickinson state park in the morning produced several ospreys, lots of terrapins and a large tortoise, lots of common birds and loads of common nighthawks. The prize on the way back was a loggerhead shrike in the scrub by a rest stop.

Osprey

Friday 7th June

Did lots of touristy thing around Orlando, then Drove down to the keys for early morning.

Saturday 8th June

I spent the morning visiting Long Key trails, lots of common birds, a Willet and black bellied plover were the only waders although there were a mix of herons and egrets. A northern flicker was spotted, the trails did not have to many mozzys due the sea breeze, the only other bird of note was a white eyed vireo.

While waiting for the Indian Key boat trip I located a yellow crowned night heron and watched the brown pelican fish. There were lots of Tarpon here massive fish which you could buy feed for. I located some white winged doves on one of the lower keys before heading to Key West.

WilletPelicanTarpon

 

Sunday 9th June

A trip was booked on a Dolphins trip, but this was postponed until the evening due to poor weather in the bay, so I did some touristy things including visiting Audobon house, a bit expensive but full of some of his original paintings. The dolphin trip found lots of dolphins and we snorkelled on the sponge beds watching the fish. A few frigate birds were seen but not much else of note.

SpongeFish

Monday 10th June

An early start for the trip to the Dry tortugas, frigatebirds and tropic birds were seen from the boat but not much else of note bar a few laughing gulls. On arrival at the Tortugas I headed to Bush Key, there were thousands of Brown noddys and Sooty terns with some Bridled terns, I did a little snorkelling had some lunch and headed back to Bush key and eventually found a black noddy. The evening was spent in Key west visiting the tourist sites.

Ray

Tuesday 11th June

On Big Pine Key, I stopped for the key deer, which were easily found, I went to Blue Hole and found a green heron nest with youngsters in. There was an alligator, lots of iguanas and all the common birds.

YoungsterAdultAligator

A tourist stop on Pigeon Key (no pigeons) was interesting.

I visited Crane point hammock, very interesting but not a great deal of birds of note. The rain prevented much else that evening and I drove to the everglades.

Wednesday 12th June

Showers interrupted most of the days birding and I could not venture to far from the open areas due to serious mozzies. I booked the boat trip and we went up the river, spotting dolphins and crocodiles and the usual birds, a royal tern was a bonus, we headed into the bay and due to bad weather turned back early but spotted a bald eagle in the bay.

CrocodilePelican

I spent the rest of the day travelling round the viewpoints and trails, wood stork nest at one of the viewpoints, black crowned night herons were quite common as were stilts and egrets. There were great white herons and the white form of the great blue heron and the intermediate forms. The rains had brought lots of Florida softshell turtles out, there were kildeer in the fields at the edge of the everglades

In the evening I visited the Coral castle that evening, some parrots flew over they were green but I was unable to identify them.

Great Blue Heron (White Morph)Snowy Egret

Thursday 13th June

of the day was used exploring the trails and viewpoints, anhingas, alligators were common, Limpkin, glossy ibis, white ibis, reddish, tricolored, little blue herons, gray kingbird and boat tailed grackle were also found. The skies were busy with both vultures, red shouldered hawks and swallow tailed kites. The rest of the day was spent visiting the alligator farm. Both american and fish crows were scrounging here.

White IbisFlorida Soft Shell Turtle

Friday 14th June

I left my poor motel and headed north to Shark Valley and booked on the tour. While waiting I watched several Snail Kites hunting in the marsh / grassland around the car park. They gave excellent views. The tour produced all the common birds of the Evergaldes. We were allowed some time at the tower but all the trails were far to mozzy infested so I could not bird them. My next stop was a touristy one at the Miccosukee indian village, quite an interesting place, and I watched two snail kites hunting over the back of the village. I drove to John U Lloyd state park for the late evening for the turtle beach walk but it had been cancelled so found somewhere to stay for the night.

 

Saturday 15th June

An early start and back up to east coast and a revisit to the Orlando wetlands and the touristy Fort Christmas historical park next door. This visit to the wetlands I took the right hand trail there were lots of alligators some racoons and a couple of white tailed deer. The marsh provided an excellent least bittern and purple gallinue, moorhen, American coot and a selection of herons.

A quick 40 mins drive to the airport and home.

Birds

Wood stork*

Yellow Crowned Night Heron*

Black Crowned Night Heron

Least Bittern*

Purple Gallinue*

American Coot*

Snail Kite*

Anhinga

Limpkin

Glossy Ibis

White Ibis

Reddish Egret

Little Blue Heron

Snowy Egret

Great egret

Great Blue Heron

Wurdemans Heron

Cattle Egret

Tricoloured Heron

Green Heron

Swallow tailed kite*

Red shouldered hawk*

Gray kingbird*

Boat tailed grackle

Black necked stilt

Bald eagle*

Royal tern*

White tailed tropic birds*

Magnificent frigatebird*

Laughing gull

Sooty tern*

Brown noody*

Black noody*

Brown Pelican

Willet

Black Skimmer*

Least tern*

Ruddy Turnstone

Mourning dove

White winged dove

American crow

Fish Crow

Black bellied plover

Northern flicker*

Brown headed cowbird

Common grackle

Turkey vulture

Black vulture

Kildeer

White eyed vireo*

Loggerhead shrike*

Common nighthawk*

Moorhen

Bridled Tern*

Animals

Racoon

Key Deer

Possum

Alligator

Bottle nosed Dolphin

Crocodile

Red eared terrapin

Yellow eared terrapin

Armadillo

Florida softshell turtle

Fiddler crab