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Hi Florida Birders:
The following I received today from a young lady (non birder) who went to
High School with our son. Perhaps those of you in the area downstate
would care to comment, and I will pass your observations on to her.
Thanks,
Lucy Duncan

While driving across Alligator Alley the other day, I saw a bird
(actually
about five) that I can't identify. I described it to my parents and their

only thought is that they were Everglades/Snail Kites. I'm really not
sure,
so I'm hoping you can help .........
They were solitary - they were each about 2 or 3 miles away from each
other
in the Big Cypress part of Alligator Alley. Each was sitting in a tree --

usually one that didn't have any leaves or needles -- next to the
drainage
ditch on the north side of the road. They were about the size of an
osprey,
perhaps a little smaller. They struck me as raptor-type birds, but rather

slender - not bulky and broadshouldered. The body was black and from the
shoulders up, they were a beautiful shade of brown. The brown color was
so
striking that it is what drew my attention. Unfortunately, I was going
about
70 miles an hour and that just didn't allow me to see much detail and it
was
dark when I drove back across the Alley last night.

Looking in some bird books, it seems possible that they could have been
juvenile snail kites, but I really wonder what my chances of having seen
five
in the space of an hour from a car would have been! We are having a
drought,
so it occurs to me that they could be searching for their snails near the

more plentiful water of the manmade drainage canals.

Any suggestions will be most welcome - somehow I think I might have to
make
another trip out to the Alley to see if I can find these guys again!

Thanks for your help.
Pia
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