27 August 2011

Hundreds of Spoonbills and Waders

This post somehow became lost in all my recent travels.  It's the second half of my birding day in late July.  To read about the first part of the day scroll down to the Swaro CL Test Drive post or click the link.

After Kim and I were done with our morning of fun we headed for the Everglades Agricultural Area near Belle Glade.  From Lake Okeechobee to the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge and South towards Miami their are agricultural fields that mostly plant sugar cane and rice.  In August they flood many of these fields after harvesting the plants and this creates the perfect conditions for migrating shorebirds.

For our first main stop of the day we headed down Gator Blvd outside of Belle Glade and found a nice field full of waders.  I know we were on the hunt for shorebirds but this was worth stopping for, check out the photos below to get a glimpse of the action!

The fields were full of Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Black-necked Stilts, and many small peeps.

My count was 124 for Roseate Spoonbills (a personal best) and over 250 Wood Storks.  Yes, quite literally the fields were pink and white.  I have never seen such a huge flock of waders.  Usually I reserve my shorebirding in Western Palm Beach for mid to late August but this late July experience proved worthy of the drive.

The fields were littered birds and a few shorebirds were mixed in as well such as Short-billed Dowitcher, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Semipalmated Sandpiper. 

We checked out the fields further along Gator Blvd and found some Black Terns and Least Terns flying.  In the field was a few White Pelicans and Glossy Ibis as well.  It was a nice day of birding and one I won't forget anytime soon!

We stopped near this dilapidated building on CR880 to look for swallows.  We found a Red-tailed Hawk instead.

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