23 March 2011

Bill Baggs State Park Adventures

The spot of my La Sagra's sighting at Bill Baggs State Park.

Finally the Bill Baggs State Park La Sagra's Flycatcher is mine! While my mom was in town visiting I decided that we should spend a day in Miami. Yes, it's true, partially this idea came to mind because I wanted to once again give the flycatcher a shot on Biscayne Key. Last winter when the La Sagra's was being seen I went three times and never could catch a glimpse. This year I tried once but I was becoming weary with tracking it down. It's not a life bird but certainly it's an ABA bird that I should have by now.

So we arrived early at Bill Baggs and I sent my mom to the beach while I hit the nature trail. I found a nice Prairie Warbler at eye level along the way and some cardinals. With the T-intersection in sight I heard a noise behind me and two flycatchers dove off the snag I had just passed and went into a thick branch of a Strangler Fig. I ran back on the trail and followed the shadowed movements. The La Sagra's called and then one bird flew across the trail. I wasn't sure which bird was left and I stood trying to decide if I should run after the departed bird or if I should stay with the one left. At that moment the La Sagra's Flycatcher came into view and I got crippling looks. It hopped around the tree and called intermittedly. I watched it for 15 minutes or so before it also decided to retreat to the depths of the forest. I was estastic to say the least and even though it wasn't a life bird, it gave me such joy to finally nail this bird down in the U.S.

After my bird chase I joined my mom for some swimming and beach time. The water was crisp but perfect on this hot day. We enjoyed a lunch of empanadas and vegan cookies while we soaked in the sun.

After our bodies had enough of the sun we toured around the lighthouse. I was amazed at how empty the park was on this day and we really only ran into a few other people while walking the trails. It was a nice reprieve from the busy weekends that I had spent at Bill Baggs previously.

On our way back to Miami we stopped on Virginia Key to take in the Miami skyline. I did a little birding and had a few Ruddy Turnstones, some Rock Pigeons, and a flock of Laughing Gulls.

With a little more effort I found a Red-breasted Merganser and a Lesser Black-backed Gull to round out the day. It was the perfect end to our visit in Miami and I was happy to have some quality time with my mom. The La Sagra's was just the icing on the cake.

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