A total of 16 birders were kind enough to join me on this really hot day through 3 of South Florida’s counties. The trip began in Miccosukee Service Plaza which gave us all a chance to see Common Myna for the day, from there we were driving down Government road through Broward while listening to the Spring chorus of Eastern Meadowlarks that would be with us most of the morning, the other highlights in this portion of the road were a Great White Heron and 4 Black-necked Stilts in Alligator infested waters.
Once we reached the Hendry county side of the road, the activity picked up and we quickly got all 3 of our targets, Wild Turkey, Sandhill Crane and Crested Caracara (we ended up seeing 11 different individuals of this carrion-eating falcon throughout the day!). Other birds of note included some wailing Limpkins, flocks of Glossy Ibis flying over us, a lonesome Mottled Duck, 14 American White Pelicans and half a dozen Swallow-tailed Kites before we reached our next stop.
CREW Bird Rookery is a recent addition to TAS trips and it is a great place at any time of day, when we arrived, some of us were lucky enough to see a family of River Otters crossing the road and having 30+ Wood Storks foraging for catfish wasn’t too bad either. The migrant songbird variety was low, with us only connecting with Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush, but nesting birds gave us a good show with Downy and Pileated Woodpecker building nest/feeding young and seeing 4 occupied Red-shouldered Hawk nests! Add to that many waders including an adult Roseate Spoonbill, a calling Barred Owl and seeing many Banded Water Snakes, it was a stop that was good for everyone enjoying time outside.
After the lunch break, we drove to Picayune in hopes to connect with Red-cockaded Woodpecker, but the blistering sun made it hard to locate the birds, thankfully we still had an amazing supporting cast that made the stop worthwhile, these included an adult Bald Eagle flying over the group, a flushed Northern Bobwhite, a beautiful pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers and an extremely cooperative Eastern Bluebird that just stuck around for photos by the parking area.
Overall, it was a great trip with 74 bird species recorded, plus 5 mammals. For a detailed species list, click here.