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I arrived at Snake Bight at 11:30 this morning, about three and a
quarter hours after forecast high tide there, seriously upsetting
about half a dozen large alligators lounging around and under the
boardwalk.  As the thrashing and splashing was dying down I
spotted the distinctive line of pink dots on eastern horizon that
probably meant that the flamingos were still there.  The scope at
20x revealed 15 Greater Flamingos near the eastern shore of the
bight, a bit closer than the last two times I saw them here.  None
appeared to be juveniles but a few were noticeably brighter colored
than the rest.  They were still in the same general area when I left
at 12:45 PM.  Also off to the east were three American White
Pelicans, the first that I've seen here for at least a couple of
months, though a large flock has recently been seen farther out on
Florida Bay.  The tide was still rather high so there weren't very
many shorebirds and waders around.  The other high points of my
time there were when a Merlin came in from behind, low over the
tree line at attack speed close enough for me to hear it's wingbeats
before seeing it.  And, when two Gull-billed Terns flew close by the
boardwalk, hunting along the high tide line.  These are the birds I
recorded today at Snake Bight:

American White Pelican - 3
Brown Pelican - 7
Great Blue Heron - 25
Great Blue Heron (white morph) - 5
Great Blue Heron (“Wurdermans”) - 2
Great Egret - 3
Snowy Egret - 2
Little Blue Heron - 2
Tricolored Heron -  6
White Ibis - 5
Roseate Spoonbill - 4
Turkey Vulture - 5
Greater Flamingo - 15
Osprey - 1
Bald Eagle - 1 (immature)
Merlin - 1
Black-bellied Plover - 1
Semipalmated Plover - 1
Greater Yellowlegs - 1
Willet - 2
Spotted Sandpiper - 2
Ruddy Turnstone - 1
Least Sandpiper - 3
Short-billed Dowitcher - 1
Dowitcher (sp.) - 20
Gull-billed Tern - 2
Caspian Tern - 3
Belted Kingfisher - 2
White-eyed Vireo - 1
Palm Warbler - 5
Common Yellowthroat - 2

The walk up and down Snake Bight Road was fairly routine, the
only new species for this fall was Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  I've heard
them in the northern part of the park this summer, but the two I
saw today were my first in the Flamingo area since May.  One
surprise was a rather late Louisiana Waterthrush near the north
end of the road.  These are the birds I recorded along Snake Bight
Road today:

Great Blue Heron - 1
Great Egret - 3
Green Heron - 2
White Ibis - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Red-shouldered Hawk - 2
White-crowned Pigeon - 24
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - 2 (first of season)
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 4
Great-crested Flycatcher - 1
Blue Jay - 1
American Crow - 7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 25
Gray Catbird - 6 (their numbers have increased noticeably around
Flamingo in the last week)
Brown Thrasher - 2
Northern Parula - 2
Black-throated-blue Warbler - 3
Prairie Warbler - 2
Black-and-white Warbler - 7
American Redstart - 3
Worm-eating Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 15
Northern Waterthrush - 5
Louisiana Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 10
Northern Cardinal - 6
Indigo Bunting - 2
Painted Bunting - 5

I hadn't checked the sandbar off the visitor center for a while so I
made a quick check there.  The tide was a bit to low and most of
the shorebirds had already passed through, but some gulls and
terns were sitting on the sandbar.  No new fall species were there
but the ones that were present were there in greater numbers;  19
Royal Terns, 9 Caspian Terns, 3 Forster's Terns, and 77 Laughing
Gulls.  Since last spring I haven't seen any species of gull here
besides laughing.  There were also 52 Double-crested Cormorants
on the sandbar, in mid summer there might have been one or two
hunting behind the sandbar.

A little follow-up on the White-tailed Kite that a visitor told me about
last week.  Saturday afternoon I was in Florida City on a shopping
run and tried to locate the place where he said he saw it.  I think he
was at the end of Palm Avenue, there is a large abandoned field
there that had a good many Northern Harriers and American
Kestrel hunting over it.  I didn't see any kites but it looked like the
kind of place where they could be found and it matched up with
with his description of the place.  While I was in the area I checked
the 209th Avenue loop off the main road into the park for kingbirds
etc..  No kingbirds or flycatchers but there was a Rose-breasted
Grosbeak sitting on a powerline.  A check of the TAS Birdboard
that evening revealed that one was seen on a powerline there that
morning.  On the way back to Flamingo I stopped at about sunset
at Pay-hay-okee Overlook to look for Snail Kites.  Just as I was
leaving an adult male flew in low over the hammock west of the
boardwalk.

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