Sunday 16 March 2014

Florida trip

My wife and I visited south Florida earlier this month for a two week birding trip.  We covered 1800 miles, stayed in six different locations and visited many of the top birding attractions in this stunning State.  We notched up 148 species.  We saw most of the specialities including Snail Kite, Florida Red-shouldered Hawk, Florida Scrub Jay, Roseate Spoonbill, Painted Bunting, Purple Swamphen, every egret, ibis and heron possibly available, all the normal wintering warblers (most approaching summer plumage), and six species of woodpecker including the huge Pileated Woodpecker. 

We also visited the famous Florida Keys and took the 70 mile boat trip to the Dry Tortugas.  This tiny island in the Gulf is the only place in the USA to reliably see Brown Noddy, Brown Booby, Sooty Tern and Magnificent Frigatebird.  We connected with all of them in good numbers plus saw Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Brown Pelican. 

The Tortugas experience for me was the ultimate in a stunning trip but the high standard of wetland reserves, boardwalks and information centres, giving crippling views of the herons and waterbirds was simply mind-blowing.

Below are some images of birds we saw:  More images can be found on this link here

Least Bittern, one of just two seen on the trip, making this the rarest "heron" (for us).

Brown Noddy, one of hundreds seen at Dry Tortugas.

Ovenbird seen at Key West Botanical Garden.

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