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My morning walk turned up some interesting birds today, enough so that I
had to ask myself:  Was I awake?  Was I really in Miami?  Was it really
February?  Was I making a total hash of the ID?

Highlights:  1 Dickcissel, 2 Blue Grosbeaks, and a Fuertes Red-tailed
Hawk.

To get to the birds, head S on Krome Ave. (SW 177th Ave.) from Kendall Dr.
(SW 88th St.) for roughly 2 miles, until you cross a canal.  Immediately
turn left (E) on the road on the S side of the canal and proceed to the
railroad tracks.  The Dickcissel and Blue Grosbeaks were in the pepper on
the E side of the tracks, N of the canal.  The hawk was perched on the
second tall power pole to the S of the canal.

An Indigo Bunting or two was also in the area.  I saw a Painted Bunting
there last week.

Curiously, when I came into work, one of the Mockers in the parking lot
did a Dickcissel imitation.



Since the Dickcissel and Blue Grosbeak are unusual in winter, and the
Fuertes is unusual period, I include some details.

Dickcissel: Yellow & white supercilium, supraloreal, and malar (aka
submoustachial) stripe.  White splash behind malar.  Yellow breast with
some black mottling.  Gray head.

I first saw it head-on, and the splash of yellow above and below the eyes
gave me a moment (think Grassquit!).  Still, it was my first Dickcissal
for the area.

Blue Grosbeak:  Brown.  Triangular head.  Two rufous-brown wing bars.
Gross beak (sorry, I couldn't resist).  The tail of one bird seemed
exceptionally rounded.  Perhaps the outer tail feathers have been recently
molted.  One called a few times too.

Fuertes Hawk: A Red-tailed by size and some markings on back (although it
did seem to have less of a white V than normal).  Dark head and throat.
Clean white underparts (no belly band).  Very short-tailed (not to be
confused with Short-tailed!) appearance.

--
John H. Boyd III                               [log in to unmask]
Dept. of Economics                             Phone: 305-348-3287
Florida International University               Fax: 305-348-1524
Miami, FL 33199                                http://ecojb.fiu.edu/