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On Saturday, April 29, 2006, Brian Rapoza, and I, the Life is good.......... 
team, as four-time defending champions, participated in the Tropical Audubon 
Society s Fifth Annual Birdathon. Team member Bruce Purdy has moved to 
Freeport, Grand Bahama to oversee his diving operation, Blackbeard Cruises 
and Juan Villamil has been “a little under the weather.” We definitely 
missed their eyes and ears.

We began our quest at 5:30 a.m., with our first birds of the day being 
Nothern Mockingbird, House Sparrow and European Starling in the Publix 
parking lot on Kendall Drive.

Our next stop was the first water control structure west of the Miccosukee 
Casino where Wood Storks, Black-crowned Night Herons and a mixed bag of 
egrets and herons awaited us. Was hoping for the Sacred Ibis I saw last 
week. Our next stop was the abandoned airboat concession west of Shark, 
Valley, where we surprisingly heard a Whip-poor-will calling and to make 
matters better - two of this wintering species zigzagged in front of us 
while hunting along the Tamiami Canal. Stunned by our good fortune, a pair 
of Chuck-will-widows appeared out of the darkness taking advantage of the 
last bit of darkness to hawk for insects.

Loop Road highlights were two Barred Owls, Eastern Screech Owl and two 
Prothonotary Warblers singing their melodic tunes from the Bald Cypress 
trees. We picked up Eastern Bluebird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and American 
Redstart at Kirby Storter Park Owl before heading off to Tigertail Beach on 
Marco Island. Burrowing Owls were seen perched in several vacant lots all 
over the island – a very welcomed sight. The recent hurricanes have 
definitely changed the landscape of the barrier island and unfortunately, 
the birding was slow. A pair of juvenile Northern Gannets and a small flock 
of Marbled Godwits were the highlights of what is considered our most 
important stop for adding species.

On the drive back down Tamiami (Tampa-to-Miami) Trail we stopped at the 
airboat concession again but no Snail Kites. Another stop at the water 
control structure added Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, Kildeer and Purple 
Gallinule to the list.  A.D. Barnes Park had a mini-fallout with scads of 
Blackpoll Warblers and a stunning male Blackburnian Warbler being the 
highlight, but a breeding plumaged Chipping Sparrow adjacent to the Nature 
Center parking lot was a pleasant surprise.

The Baptist Hospital/Kendall area treated us to a family of Spot-breasted 
Orioles, Cave Swallow, Hill Myna, White-winged and Mitred Parakeets. Our 
last stop was Miami Springs, where we picked up Chimney Swift, White-winged 
Dove, Orange-winged and Red-crowned Parrots and Crimson-fronted Parakeet 
(Aratinga finschi). We would tally up 113 species - ten below last year’s 
123 species.  We ended our day by fillin’ our bellies with a great dinner 
washed down with a few Yuenglings at Woody’s Tavern on Ludlam Road in Miami 
Springs.

Here is the list of all species seen or heard by the Life is good team 
during this year’s Birdathon:

Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Anhinga
Magnificent Frigatebird
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Mottled Duck
Mallard (feral)
Muscovy
Osprey
Swallow-tailed Kite
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Purple Gallinule
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Wilson’s Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Marbled Godwit
Dunlin
Common Snipe
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Royal Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer (50)
Rock Pigeon
White-crowned Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Monk Parakeet
White-winged Parakeet
Mitred Parakeet
Crimson-fronted Parakeet
Orange-winged Parrot
Red-crowned Parrot
Barred Owl
Eastern Screech Owl (heard)
Burrowing Owl
Common Nighthawk
Whip-poor-will
Chuck-will's-widow
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Gray Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cave Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Common Myna
Hill Myna
Northern Parula
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler (100)
Pine Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
House Sparrow (113)

Life is good....................  even knowing that we will probably be 
passing the torch to young Alex Harper and any team he participates on. 
Gettin' too old to run from bird to bird and too old to hear those calls. If 
you would like to make a donation for this year s Birdathon, go to the 
tropicalaudubon.org website for information.

Paul Bithorn
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Virginia Gardens, FL
Miami-Dade County

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