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The Tropical Audubon Society field trip on Saturday, August 31, 2002 to the
sod farms was a most fructifying experience.

We began birding at Holeyland/Rotenberger W.M.A. on the  Palm
Beach/Broward County line. Two Smooth-billed Anis were at their usual haunts
where the paved road ends on the south side of the canal. A King Rail that
had been killed by a car afforded us close study. The buff feather edgings
were beautiful. We marveled at how small the bird appeared in the hand. I
had a similar experience many years ago with a Sora that I released that had
been turned loose in a friend's house after he pulled it from his cat's
mouth. The diminutive rail fit neatly into the palm of my hand.

Common Yellowthroats, Prairie Warbler, Eastern Towhwees and Red-shouldered
Hawks were also seen along the road.

The sod farms and flooded fields east of US 27 in Palm Beach County south of
South Bay were very  productive. A stunning White-tailed Kite peered back at
us from atop a dead Braziian Pepper from about 30 yards away as we drove
along the dirt road east of the Miami River/Canal within view of the large
tower to our left.

A Black-bellied Whistling Duck was seen mixed in with Great Common American
Egrets and Glossy Ibises (Ibi) in a rice field along the way.

A large kettle of White Pelicans soared overhead with a few Wood Storks and
a Bald Eagle mixed in for good measure as we shared good scope views of an
Upland Sandpiper from the little paved area just north of the tower.
Black-bellied Plovers in alternate plumage as well as Pectoral Sandpipers
grazed in the fields of St. Augustine around the tower.

Short-billed Dowitchers, Least Sandpipers, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs,
Black-bellied & Semipalmated Plovers and Killdeer were in the
flooded field just north and across the street from the tower. A pair of
Gull-biled Terns, a few Black Terns and a lone Roseate Spoonbill were also
seen here.

Drinking Cliff and Barn Swallows as well as a few Bank Swallows were seen at
the small rockpit north of SR 827. Several northern Yellow Warblers were
also in the area.

The Miami Canal stand of champion Red Cedars had aproximately 10 Barn Owls.
An Indigo Bunting was on the wires across the canal along with a Red-tail
Hawk.Belted Kingfishers are moving into this area as well.

Three Snail Kites were seen from I-75 on the drive home in Area 2A just
north of Westin on the drive home. Life is good............especially when
birding our bird-rich state.

Paul Bithorn
Virginia Gardens, Florida
Miami-Dade County
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