Twenty-two birders joined me today for a full-day trip to three state parks in the Florida Keys. Our first stop was at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, where we explored the Hammock Trail, providing access to mangrove forest and tropical hardwood hammock habitats. Birds encountered during our visit included White-crowned Pigeon, Green Heron, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird, Northern Waterthrush and Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue and Prairie Warblers. Birds seen along US 1 after leaving Windley Key included Magnificent Frigatebird, Great White Heron, Short-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle and Gray Kingbird.
Next, we visited Long Key State Park, where we explored the boardwalk section of the Golden Orb Trail as well as the shoreline habitat from the boardwalk to the campground. Birds encountered here included Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers, Ruddy Turnstone, Short-billed Dowitcher, Willet, Great Egret, Great Blue, Little Blue and Tricolored Herons, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Rough-winged and Barn Swallows, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Parula and Magnolia, Palm, Yellow-throated and Prairie Warblers.
Our final stop was at Curry Hammock State Park, where we had lunch, then visited the Florida Keys Hawkwatch in the park’s campground. Birds seen along the beach on the way to the campground included Common Ground-Dove, Sanderling, Least and Spotted Sandpipers, Laughing Gull, Royal Tern, Double-crested Cormorant and Brown Pelican. Eight raptor species were seen while at the hawkwatch platform: Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s and Broad-winged Hawks, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon. Thanks to hawk watchers Mariah Hryniewich and Gianna Arcuri for helping us to find and identify all of the raptors soaring high over our heads.
We encountered a total of 54 species in the three state parks we visited. An eBird trip report listing these species, as well as individual checklists for each state park can be viewed here. Thanks to Luis Gonzalez for compiling the individual checklists.
Osprey, seen at Long Key State Park: Photo by Brian Rapoza