Friday, April 26, 2013

All About Town and Back to Baptist Hospital, Wednesday, April 24

After picking up breakfast at a McDonalds on Stirling Road in Fort Lauderdale, I went to 2855 Stirling Road to a Walgreens Drug Store, where a Spot-breasted Oriole was reported yesterday at 3:00 pm feeding on the pink blossoms of a tab tree in the median east of the store.  I did not find the oriole at this location; therefore, I checked out the area.  There are multiple trees of this type around the shopping center with this Walgreens store.  No luck here on the oriole.  I decided to look for Monk Parakeets in the vicinity of Old Griffin Road and Griffin Road, where I had seen them several times before on birding visits to the Fort Lauderdale area.  After I turned into Old Griffin Road, the railroad crossing gate came down as a train approached.  As I was waiting, three Monk Parakeets flew northeast across the canal and headed north past the airport.  I could see the light green color and the white breast of the birds as they flew by.  One new bird for the year down and more to come.  I spent about one hour in the Old Griffin Road area looking for Smooth-billed Anis, but did not find them.  Because I was in the Fort Lauderdale area, I checked the Tropical Audubon site for locations of birds I still needed on my list.  Burrowing Owls are listed as present at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport about 20 minutes from this location.  I arrived at Commercial Boulevard and NW 21 Avenue and turned north on NW 21 Avenue, because the owls are found north of Commercial Boulevard.  Almost at the north end of NW 21 Avenue there is a pavilion with picnic tables where people watch the planes take off and land while having a snack or a picnic lunch.  The owl locations are marked by posts with or without a cross bar on top ("T").  I scanned the area several times with binoculars, until I found a spot to the northwest of a small white building which had three visible Burrowing Owls, the second new bird for the day.  At this location, the post is leaning and almost down on the ground.  One owl was flapping its wings and approaching another.  I suspect that this was a young Burrowing Owl begging for food.  After I found the owls, I got my telescope and camera out of my car as well as some food for lunch.  I got a very long distant photo of one of the owls standing up very straight.  See photo.
Just before finding the owls, I got a call on my cell phone from John Puschock, telling me that a Bahama Woodstar was reported on e-bird and PA Birds in Denver, PA.  John has been communicating rare birds to me.  He is working with ABA on the blog site and reporting of rarities.  Bahama Woodstar is a great rarity, having been reported in the US/North America last in 1981.  I will need to investigate a change in plans tonight to see if I can find a flight from Florida to either Harrisburg or Philadelphia, PA to chase this Bahama Woodstar, provided that the Bahama Woodstar remains at this location for the day.  Denver, PA is in Lancaster County, PA.  I was born and raised in Lancaster County, PA, and I have relatives who live near there.  I could not immediately start making plans to change direction; therefore, I continued with the current plan for today, Wednesday, at least.  Shortly, after the phone call from John, I got a forwarded e-mail from my friend Isaac Sanchez from Texas, who is doing a photography Big Year.  Isaac forwarded me the NARBA Rare Bird Alert to let me know about the Bahama Woodstar.  Soon after receiving the e-mail from Isaac, Bob Foppe from Cincinnati called me to let me know about the Bahama Woodstar.  Then I received the alert from NARBA.  There was a lot of excitement for me in a short period of time!  Thanks for all of the interest in my Big Year!  Later I also got an e-mail and comment informing me about the Bahama Woodstar on my blog from Ryan from PA changed from West VA) on his wife's (changed for mom's) e-mail (Cindy Lui).

I went to a few areas in Dania where I had seen Spot-breasted Oriole about ten years ago.  First, I checked the bottle brush trees in the Jai Lai Fronton parking lot.  They were blooming but did not hold a Spot-breasted Oriole.   I stopped and picked up some ice for my cooler, stopped at the McDonalds on Stirling Road to get a Cherry Berry Chiller, something cold to modify how hot I felt, and then stopped again at the Walgreens at 2855 Stirling Road to look for the Spot-breasted Oriole again.  No luck this time either for the oriole.  I checked my list of birds still needed and decided to try for White-winged Parakeet on my way back to the Baptist Hospital in Kendall.  Joe Barros, who was leading the birding tour for Eddie and Brett Casper and their mom, told me where they had almost instant success at the Le Jeune Road site after I told him that I was planning to use the sites listed on the Tropical Audubon website to find the Miami specialties.  I set my GPS on Google Maps for NW 42 Avenue (Le Jeune Road) and NW 7th Street.  This location is just south of Miami Airport; consequently, traffic was congested on the way.  I arrived at this intersection and parked briefly in the parking lot of a funeral/undertaker business.  I heard some parrots calling in the area, but decided to leave this parking lot, because it was designated only for customers.  I am not planning to be a customer soon!  I parked in the parking lot of a small strip mall and walked back toward the intersection of NW 42 Avenue and NW 7th Street.  I still heard the parrot calls, which seemed to be coming from an area near NW 9th Street.  I found a shady spot on the side walk under a tree and waited and watched.  I heard the calls again and looked up to the right to see two White-winged Parakeets flying south east.  I could see that they were relatively small parakeets with a light green color and extensive white on the upper wing on the inner primary feathers and the outer secondary feathers.  The white also showed on the undersides of the wings.  Another new bird for the year.

I decided to support local business, buy some local Hispanic food and take it with me to the Baptist Hospital in Kendall to eat while looking for the local specialties, Spot-breasted Oriole and Red-whiskered Bulbul.  I chose the Caribe CafĂ© Restaurant and asked a waitress to help me find food that would be representative of this area.  She recommended a Miami Sandwich, which has ham, lettuce, tomato and onion with mayonnaise on Cuban bread and is heated.  I also bought a Spanish orange drink with mandarin flavor.  Both were great!

I arrived at the Baptist Hospital at 6 pm.  I walked around the hospital grounds, drove through the neighborhoods to the north and south of the hospital, and also visited the nearby Kendall Elementary School.  I did not find the oriole or the bulbul.  I did find two Green Herons, a new bird for the year, at the lake in front of the hospital.  I also saw a number of small flocks of Mitred Parakeets, which I saw the first time I visited this week.  This time I also saw a Red-masked  Parakeet.  Mitred and Red-masked Parakeets are not countable and not considered established. 

I will need to try for the Spot-breasted Oriole and Black-whiskered Bulbul again, but after I either go to PA for the Bahama Woodstar or after I return from the Keys, which is my next area to visit.  I drove to Homestead to stay the night.

Monk Parakeet, Burrowing Owl, White-winged Parakeet and Green Heron make the total 362 (edited from original in error as 366).              



  1. Hi Paul,

    More great birds! I'm sure you know that the Woodstar hasn't been seen for a couple of days, unfortunately. Thanks for the recognition here, though I am from Pittsburgh, and Cindy is my wife's American name :)

    Are you going to St. Pete for any parakeets? I know there used to be 4+ species there. Do you have the ABA Florida Guide?


  2. Who is Paul? The west coast of FL and St Pete area is after the Keys. I do have the ABA Guide, not the current version. Sorry about thinking you were from West VA and that it was your mom's rather than your wife's e-mail. Your first comment was about winter travel in West VA, so that's why I was confused. I will correct it both on my blog. I did not find your first comment which had your location, Bridgeville, PA, which tells me that you are from PA. Yes, I knew yesterday morning that the Bahama Woodstar was no longer being seen. I have found from experience that it a good idea to wait at least one day for a very distant rarity. If it is close, go right away.

  3. Sorry, for some reason, even though I have been following you for two months, I still feel like saying 'Paul'. I think there must be a poster on PABIRDS named Paul Lehman or something similar. I was surprised that the Woodstar bolted so fast. I remember getting the Green Violet-Ear in Terra Alta, WV, in 2003, and that bird was there (in the middle of nowhere) for well over a week. Having the older ABA guide is fine. You can see the parks and public areas in St. Pete that have the different parakeets. I missed going to those locations when last in the area in 2009. Did get Monks in Sarasota in two or more places. You know where you are going, though, and I don't think I'd give you any good advice for anything rare there. Go forth and keep doing well!