Twenty-five bird, butterfly and native plant enthusiasts joined me today for the TAS field trip to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park in Monroe County. Most participants met me at the Cracker Barrel in Florida City, while the rest joined us at the state park entrance. Right around the parking area, we encountered our first migrant songbirds: a Gray-cheeked Thrush and a couple of Ovenbirds. Other migrants seen while walking the trails included another Gray-cheeked Thrush, as well as American Redstart, Northern Parula and Cape May, Blackpoll and Black-throated Blue Warblers. A Veery was heard by a couple of the participants. A couple of Black-whiskered Vireos and a Least Tern were among the summer breeders we encountered. Resident birds seen during the walk included White-crown Pigeon, Common Ground-Dove, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-eyed Vireo, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle and Northern Cardinal. A Carolina Wren was heard-only. Several butterfly species were also seen.
The rest of the morning was spent in the Carysfort Circle area a few miles north of the state park. Here, we added Black Vulture, Osprey, Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue Jay and Palm and Prairie Warbler to our trip list. More Common Ground-Doves, White-eyed and Black-whiskered Vireos, and Cape May and Blackpoll Warblers were also found there. As lunchtime approached, most of the group headed to the Buzzards Roost restaurant, just a few blocks south of the state park. While we ate, the group witnessed an intense aerial battle directly overhead between a Common Grackle and a Swallow-tailed Kite! Other birds seen while at the restaurant included Eurasian Collared-Dove, Laughing Gull, Brown Pelican, Turkey Vulture, Gray Kingbird and Northern Mockingbird. A Northern Flicker was heard near the restaurant.
An eBird trip report listing all birds seen and heard during our visit is here.
Photo courtesy of Linda Evans