During my visit to Everglades National Park this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday some of the more interesting birds seen included; White-tailed Kite, Shiny Cowbird, Mangrove Cuckoo, and Barn Swallow.

My first birding stop in the park late Saturday afternoon was on Research Road where at least a couple of Barn Swallows were hunting over the mowed areas near the research facilities.  Barn Swallows migrate through Florida during every summer month but these birds and several more seen Sunday at Flamingo didnít seem to be on the move.  They have been expanding their breeding range in Florida and this makes me wonder if they might now be breeding this far south. There were also two White-tailed Kites in the usual spot in the brushy area inside the southeast corner of Research Road; this has been a reliable spot for them during the last few summers and a good place to look for them during the rest of the year.  A little before sunset a male and female Northern Bobwhite were seen along entrance road to Long Pine Key Campground.  A  Great Horned Owl called for a while after sunset near the campground and many Chuck-willís-widows called as darkness fell.

Chuck-willís-widows called frequently again at first light Sunday and soon after a Great Horned Owl called near the campground, at least two more called in the distance then one of these came closer to the campground and was seen with the first owl at daybreak.  The morning chorus of pineland birds was just getting started when I headed south to the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow nesting area south of the Mahogany Hammock turnoff.  The sparrows were in full song about fifteen minutes after sunrise and five or six could be heard singing during most every one of the twenty or thirty minutes I was there.  I was able to get long range but recognizable scope views of several of the sparrows as they sang or fed on the grass stalks east of the road.  At Paurotis Pond about eight young Roseate Spoonbills could be seen in the mangroves across the pond along with most of the larger waders and a pair of Eastern Kingbirds was active near the parking area.  The only interesting birds at West!
  Lake were an immature and two adult Bald Eagles by the lake near the end of the boardwalk.

At Flamingo two male Shiny Cowbirds were seen with mixed blackbird flock in the grassy area east of the Visitors center and south of the marina, later in the day they were seen again west of the visitorís center.  Two more Barn Swallows were seen at Eco Pond and Black-crowned Night-Herons seemed more conspicuous there than usual.

Bear Lake Road was still open but now that the rainy season has begun it will likely be closed soon and probably wonít be opened to motor vehicles until around early January.  A couple of hundred yards past where the canal first bends away from the road a Mangrove Cuckoo called a couple of times, after a few minutes of waiting it came into view and for ten or fifteen minutes I was able to watch it work a Red Mangrove tree from top to bottom and saw it gobble down a couple of large moths wings and all.  A walk down Bear Lake Trail  turned up only the usual breeding species; Prairie Warblers, Black-whiskered Vireos, Great-crested Flycatchers, and White-crowned Pigeons etc..  The largest flock of pigeons was in the top of a large fruiting Mastic tree, Iíve never seen them feeding in this tree and always thought its fruit was too large and tough for birds to eat.  The walk down Snake Bight Road produced nothing unusual and there were few shorebirds at the end.  All three types o!
 f Great Blue Heron were seen in the bight along with Reddish Egret but there were no spoonbills and no flamingos.  The walk back up to the highway was made interesting by a Mangrove Cuckoo that allowed me long close views of it as it panted in the afternoon heat low in the trees beside the road.

Heavy afternoon rains put an end to most birding activity later Sunday afternoon and I headed back up to camp at Long Pine Key.  Most of Monday morning was spent hiking the pineland trails photographing wildflowers and tree snails.  There is little to mention about the birds except that the Eastern Bluebirds and Northern Bobwhites didnít seem as numerous as last summer but there were plenty of Brown-headed Nuthatches around.

Mosquitoes werenít very bad in the north end of the park but were more of a problem south of Mahogany Hammock and in the Flamingo area.  I only encountered a few Deerflies during my visit mostly in the north end of the park.

This is off topic but may be of interest to long time visitors to Everglades National Park.  The Royal Palm Hammock Visitors Center is being renovated this summer and this will include the removal of the exhibit in the south room of the building along with the information kiosk at the beginning of Gumbo Limbo Trail.  I canít fault the park service for wanting to replace these since they give little hard information to new visitors to this part of the park.  However, these are wonderful examples of environmental art which give a stylized but remarkable view of the freshwater slough ecosystem from an alligatorís point of view and a birdís perspective of a rockland hardwood hammock.  The park service plans to use the roof part of the exhibit in the new gift shop but has had little success finding a home for the rest of the exhibit.  The exhibit needs cleaning and some restoration but is structurally sound and portable; in fact it was one of the few structures in the north end o!
 f the park to come through Hurricane Andrew undamaged.  The only condition they have is that it goes to a public place and not to a private collection.  I donít want to start a discussion on this topic in this forum but if you have some ideas contact me and I will let you know how to contact the person in charge of this project.

Bryant Roberts
Davie, Fl

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