Saturday, May 16, 2009

Florida Birding Trip Day 9: Revenge, and the trip home (Lifers are bolded)

Today was our last day of birding. We stayed again in Homestead at the Super 8 and I barely slept that night. I was dreaming about Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. When I woke up, I was eating Wheaties and thinking about Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, and when we reentered the Everglades at 6:00 am in the dark, I was smelling, breathing, and almost tasting Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.

We arrived at the RIGHT SPOT this time just before dawn. I listened intently....nothing....People drove by with their boats behind them on their way to Flamingo constantly, which didn't help me hear any better.

After sunrise, a nighthawk flew over....I hope it was a Common and not a Lesser, because I didn't get a chance to get on it.




I scanned with my binoculars and got the same far away movement as I did before, but this time it HAD to be the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, I wasn't really hearing anything else! I had to get closer! But how? I then remembered, from our last atempt, a small laneway that may actually lead me closer to the bird. We walked over to the laneway and it led to a waterhole. An alligator was swimming in the water but I walked right past it.



There it was, one of the key speicies for the whole entire Floirda trip! Sporting three leg bands and singing in the tall grass was a male Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. I even had a great view of it in the scope as it strattled the tall grass........And then I breathed again.

It was time to head home. One species was bothering me that I didn't see on the whole trip though, Purple Gallinule. I mentioned it to Aaron and he said that if it was on our way, we could try for it. We stopped at a couple of spots and eventually picked out two PURPLE GALLINULE at Silver Lakes North Park in the Pembroke Pines area, along with great views of a Loggerhead Shrike, and, surprisingly (but honestly, not THAT surprising considering all the introduced species in Florida) Egyptian Goose! Purple Swamphen, a non-ABA countable exotic is basically only found in this area as well. I'd rather see the Purple Gallinule thankyou. We didn't see the Swamphen.

Finally it was time for me to relax as I didn't have to be on high bird alert anymore. Back on I-75 heading north, it would take us 22 hours to get home. During the drive we noticed the changing of the seasons with Floirda, of course, looking like summer. We drove through Georgia, then through the smoky mountain area of Tennsessee, with Dogwood and Redbud just coming out, and lastly, home to our bare branches reminisent of winter. We slept in our bed that night, exhausted, nausious from the long drive, and me with a second degree burn on my shoulder.

Man, I need a vacation!

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