12 January 2009

Everglades Trip Report

I went to Everglades National Park last Monday in search of Short-eared Owl and Brown-crested Flycatcher. Unfortunately I came up short on both but it was still a great day hiking the trails in the Everglades and enjoying the scenery. My first stop at daylight was Eco Pond where I found hundreds of egrets coming in to feed. Mixed in were Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, and White Ibis. White Pelicans flew overhead and the Osprey were out in full force.

After Eco Pond I headed back east towards Research Road where I visited the abandoned missle base. I looked for the White-tailed Kite but it wasn't around. And I heard a flycatcher at the Brown-crested spot but I wasn't a hundred percent sure. The bird wouldn't come out to the road area and I left feeling a little defeated.

The last stop of the morning was the Anhinga Trail area. I walked down the old Ingraham Road area first but it was really quiet with just one Great-crested Flycatcher calling and a lone Northern Parula. So I thought I would end my trip with a stroll down to the gators.

As always the alligators were sunbathing and the wading birds were out feeding. I saw the normal egrets and herons mixed in with the nesting Anhingas. Those little fluffy babies are so ugly that they're cute. Lots of tourists were milling about but when I saw the two buses of kids coming I decided to head back to the Old Ingraham Road area before departing.

As soon as I got pass the Gumbo Limbo trail intersection a Red-shouldered Hawk flew overhead and landed in a tree. I thought at first that it had a bird but under closer inspection I watched as it stripped clean the skin off of a frogs legs with one quick pull. I have seen hawks eat a variety of foods but this was my first time watching it devour a frog. I was amazed at the skill at skinning the body. It made short order of its meal and I ended my half day at the park. On the way out I stopped at the Robert is Here stand for some fresh fruit and drove back to Broward County. Last bird seen in Broward before calling it a night was the Great Cormorant at J.U. Lloyd State Park.


dAwN said...

Great trip Eva...even if you did miss your target birdies. I love birding in the everglades too!
I wonder why the Hawk had to skin the frogs legs before eating.

Eva said...

Frogs have toxins on their skin to ward off predators. I assume peeling that off first was to make it a tastier meal.