12 December 2008

Miami-Dade Birding

Prior to my friend Andy moving to South Florida I would rarely venture down to Miami-Dade County but it seems to be almost ALL that we do. So last weekend we went in search of a few new lifers. The first stop was to the agricultural fields near Homestead. We scanned large flocks of Brown-head Cowbirds and starlings in search of a Yellow-headed Blackbird. Unfortunately, this bird would not show itself but we had other cool ones to distract us.

This area by the C-111 canal has been really productive lately. I may have missed the blackbird but I did get great looks of my first Swainson's Hawk in a large kettle of vultures. The area was also teeming with sparrows. Andy and I spent some time looking for a LeConte's with no luck but we saw more Savannah Sparrows than you could shake a stick at. Plus, Andy picked up another lifer as a Merlin flew up and over the canal and out into the field area.

On our way to Dump Marsh and Cutler Wetland we stopped at the Robert Is Here fruit stand for a little holiday shopping. Nothing says love like some local honey and jam. The Purple Martin houses were loaded down with some "black-throated browns" as Andy calls them. He picked this up on our recent TX trip and I believe it will now be a new name for our little House Sparrow.

Once at Dump Marsh we picked up quite a few new birds for the day. The target was a new ABA bird for me, the Tropical Kingbird. This bird showed up in November while I was away in TX. I could have picked one up there but all I saw were Couch's Kingbird. So it was nice to finally add this to my U.S. list. And to top it off it called as soon as we stepped out of the car. Nothing like a vocal ID right off the bat.

My kingbird photo may not be the best but it does the job. We also saw a Snow Goose at the wetland which is kinda unusual for South Florida though it was my second sighting of one this month. Our last stop was Cutler Wetland in search of some gulls but not a single one was to be seen. So we packed up the car and headed home with 66 species for the morning. Another successful Miami-Dade trip was under our belt. Saturday I'll be back down there for the Tropical Audubon's Exotics walk. If you want to see a bulbul or some other weird bird then you should join us.


dAwN said...

looks like all in all you had a good birdie day..

Eva said...

birding down south is always a good day in my experience.