Thursday, May 22, 2008

Florida trip, Day 3: May 12

Exotics in Miami

Monk Parakeet at Nest, Miami

We started bright and early in Miami by returning to the neighborhood we had the Yellow-chevroned Parakeets in the night before. Sure enough, the parakeets were back, and joined by Monk Parakeets (life bird 398), Red-Masked Parakeets and Red-Mitred Parakeets. Of these, only Monk Parakeets are on the ABA/Florida state list so far, although from their abundance, I can't imagine that Yellow-chevroned Parakeets will be unlisted for too much longer. We searched for a Spot-breasted Oriole as well, but no luck.

Red-masked Parakeets (lower left) and Red-mitred Parakeets

We headed over to the Kendall neighborhood near a Baptist hospital that is normally a psittacid hotspot, but no parakeets or parrots were to be found, a recurring theme for the day. Parakeets were in short supply, and we'd only see Monk and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets at a couple locations in Miami. I did pick up Red-Whiskered Bulbul (#399) in this neighborhood, though, and got a cute picture of a Muscovy Duck and her brood.

Mama Muscovy and her 13 kids

We headed out towards Matheson Hammock next, stopping for Burger King and gas first. While we were filling up, I looked out the front window at the BK drivethrough and there was a Common Myna - which ended up being my 400th life bird. Not what I would have liked, but I'll take it. In the palms at the drivethrough was a Gray Kingbird building a nest, a new ABA bird for me, so a good consolation prize for a dubious 400th bird.

My 400th life bird - a @#$% Common Myna at Burger King!

The goal at Matheson Hammock was Mangrove Cuckoo, and we thought we had one. A cuckoo showing a dark mask was observed, and when it flew off, no rufous showed in the upper wings. However, when the bird flew again, it did show some orangish color in the underwings. So, we figured this was just a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. I did get my ABA-area Magnificent Frigatebird here, though, so not a total wash.

We ended the birding day at Cutler Ridge, where we pulled off to observe the nesting Cave Swallows, another ABA bird for me. Then it was on to Homestead for the night and the best motel of the trip, the Fairway Inn - affordable, nice pool, clean and comfortable. I recommend it as a good base for the Everglades and upper Keys.

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