TAS Islamorada Area Caravan Trip, 9/4/21

Twenty-four birders joined me for today’s TAS caravan trip to the three state parks located between Islamorada and Marathon in the Florida Keys. Our first stop was at Windley Key State Park, where White-crowned Pigeons and Gray Kingbirds were conspicuous. A few participants spotted a Prothonotary Warbler near the parking area. Intermittent rain showers and high mosquito levels eventually led the group to decide to move on to our next scheduled stop: Long Key State Park. As it turned out, rain and mosquitoes wouldn’t be an issue for the rest of the trip.

At Long Key, we explored the Golden Orb trail, but didn’t see much until we reached the section of trail along the shoreline. We encountered several shorebirds there, including Wilson’s and Semipalmated Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Least, Semipalmated and Western Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher and Willet. An Empidonax flycatcher was spotted in trees along the shoreline. We identified it as a "Traill’s Flycatcher, but since it didn’t vocalize, we couldn’t identify it to species. Flocks of Eastern Kingbirds were also present there, as were several Northern Waterthrush and a few Bobolinks. An adult Bald Eagle, which we first saw perched on a nearby cell tower, soared low over the group during our walk along the shoreline, eliciting many oohs and aahs.

Our last stop was at Curry Hammock State Park, where we had lunch and paid a visit to the Florida Keys Hawkwatch in the park’s campground. A Piping Plover foraging along the beach was added to our shorebird list. Hawkwatchers Mariah and Luis spotted several Swallow-tailed Kites overhead during our visit.

Our eBird checklists for the day are here:

https://ebird.org/checklist/S94153720; https://ebird.org/checklist/S94163014;


Thanks to Luis Gles for the photo of the group at the hawkwatch.