Thursday, April 25, 2013
Baptist Hospital, and All About, Tuesday, April 23
I wanted to get to Baptist Hospital very early in the morning, which is the reason why I stayed in Kendall. However, the problems with my blog and the bird list that I described in my previous post kept me in my motel room until just before checkout time at noon. I went to Baptist Hospital and the area south and across 88th Street/North Kendall Drive anyway. I added Chimney Swift, two of which I saw south of the hospital. Because it was the heat of the day and birding was slow, I decided to chase after needed birds that were not so dependent upon the time of day. I decided to try for Cave Swallow, which is the Caribbean race in Miami. Usually, when I am birding in south Florida, I try for and usually always get Cave Swallow at the bridge over the canal at 216th Street near Cutler Ridge. This time I tried a new location at Sunset Drive (72nd Street) and 107h Avenue that was posted on the Tropical Audubon Society Bird Board and seemed closer to my then current location in the streets north of the hospital. When I arrived at this location, there were two bridges, but the correct one was the one closest to the Miyagi Sushi Restaurant. I found three Cave Swallows, a new species for the year, but there may have been more but were out feeding during the time I was there, which was close to 2:30 in the afternoon. I could see the cinnamon colored foreheads of the birds and when they were in the bright sunshine, the darker cinnamon rump of these birds. In comparison, male Cliff Swallows have a white or cream colored forehead and a yellow cream colored rump; thus, identifying these birds as Cave Swallows and not Cliff Swallows was relatively easy. I had not yet eaten lunch for the day and stopped at a nearby Burger King and had a grilled chicken salad with the new Peach Iced Tea. Just as I finished eating, I noticed a Common Myna walking beside the exit lane for the drive through window. I could easily see the large size, brown color, the long yellow legs and bright yellow face patch without binoculars. I quickly walked outside, but the myna had already disappeared. Common Myna, accepted in 2008 for the ABA Checklist, is a new bird for the year.
Next I headed to Pembroke Pines to try for the Purple Swamphen, which was just added to the ABA Checklist, announced on the ABA Blog in February of 2013. This is a new life bird for me, number 795. There were two Purple Swamphens along the boardwalk just off of the parking lot. Almost too easy to now be considered a wild bird to be added to the checklist. Just joking, :>) :>)!! See photos.
After adding the Purple Swamphen, there was still enough time to return north to Loxahatchee NWR to look for Snail Kite. I arrived at abut 6:00 pm to clear to partly cloudy skies, not like on Sunday, April 21, when there was a gathering storm and dim light. I met a photographer in the parking lot for the Swamp Overlook, who told me that he sees Snail Kite in the most distant areas to the south and east and had seen one at a great distance that morning. I walked west from the parking lot and then headed south, watching for Snail Kite as well as Purple Gallinule, still missing from my list. I was able to get photos of previously seen birds for the year, such as Roseate Spoonbill (flying) and Anhinga, sitting in the same tree where I saw it on Sunday, April 21, as well as a distant and hiding in the reeds Limpkin. See photos below. As the sun was beginning to set, just above the high dike to the west, I noticed a large bird that looked like a Snail Kite. With a binocular view, I could see broad, rounded, drooping wings, a spread tail as Snail Kites often do, and the head was down showing a downward curved bill. This was only a profile view against the bright sky from the setting sun. The bird dropped down below the level of the dike. I was right by a dike heading west to this high dike, the one with the boat ramp, and walked west to the high dike along the canal. I started walking north along the high dike toward the boat ramp. Suddenly from some willows along the canal, a large bird flushed. It was the Snail Kite. I could see the white at the base of the tail. I got only a few very distant photos as the bird flew south. The last photo below shows the spread tail and white at the base as the bird is flying south. As I walked the dike north to the boat ramp, long legged waders, ibis and herons, were streaming to their roosts. Quite a spectacle! When I reached the boat ramp, the sun had disappeared below the horizon, but it was still light enough to walk along the road
Chimney Swift, Cave Swallow, Common Myna, Purple Swamphen, and Snail Kite makes the total 358.
Tomorrow I will start in Fort Lauderdale and then work my way south looking for parrots at selected locations and then try again at the Baptist Hospital in the evening.