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I went down to Everglades National Park for a little camping and birding from Late Thursday (8/2) afternoon to late Saturday (8/4) afternoon.  I camped at Long Pine Key and spent most of Friday in the Flamingo area and Saturday birding the Lucky Hammock and Royal Palm Hammock areas.  Nothing extraordinary was seen but there were a few interesting birds around as well as several personal FOTS birds.  The most interesting species seen were Shiny and Bronze Cowbirds in front of the Flamingo Visitors Center, Orchard Orioles near the same area and a Barn Owl at Dusk on Thursday along Research Road.  The FOTS species seen were Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Orchard Oriole.

 
The Cowbirds were in a motley mixed flock of about twelve birds all of which were either females or birds molting from juvenile to immature plumage.  There were two Shiny Cowbirds; one looked like a typical adult female and another looked like a young male.  The Bronze Cowbird looked like a typical adult female but it took a very close look to make out any orange in its eye.  The rest of the birds were Brown-headed Cowbirds with all the males molting out of juvenile plumage.
 

Two female/immature Orchard Orioles were on the north side of the main road where two female Orchard Orioles spent most of last winter.  The next morning I saw a year old male Orchard Oriole flying over the Lucky Hammock Annex.

 
The water level in Eco Pond was too high for shorebirds but there were a few Spotted Sandpipers along the north bank and a Forsterís Tern in Basic Plumage was hunting over the pond.  The ponds in the surrounding Coastal Prairie had many waders along with Black-necked Stilts, Lesser Yellowlegs, and a few Pectoral Sandpipers.  My FOTS Black-and-white Warbler was near the entrance to the Coastal Prairie Trail in a flock containing a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Prairie Warbler, an American Redstart, and a singing Black-whiskered Vireo.  The Gnatcatchers were common most everywhere and there were Redstarts in most locations in lesser numbers.  Several more Black-and-whites were seen, including four in one flock at West Lake.  

 
There was a Gull-billed Tern on the sandbar off the Visitors Center along with the usual birds including Marbled Godwits, Short-billed Dowitchers, and a Reddish Egret.  A walk through Mahogany Hammock turned up my FOTS Red-eyed Vireo.  

 
No new migrant songbirds were found the next morning at Lucky Hammock but in the plowed fields with pockets of standing water I found my FOTS Solitary Sandpiper along with Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, a Black-bellied Plover, and a couple of Sandhill Cranes.  I saw my FOTS Louisiana Waterthrush by the large Solution Hole along Gumbo Limbo Trail.

 
Barn Swallows were in the air most everywhere I went but this was the only swallow species I identified.  Northern Bobwhites were calling all around the Long Pine Key area as well as Lucky Hammock.  Northern Flickers seemed to be unusually common in the pinelands.  I saw my only Swallow-tailed Kite soaring just above the treetops over the Long Pine Key Campground on Saturday afternoon.

 
The sign at the park entrance warned of high Mosquito levels but I found them to be at or a little below average winter levels.  Mosquitoes were very light for August but the Dear-Flies were out in force in most areas so I hardly missed the mosquitoes..

 
 


Bryant Roberts
Davie, Fl

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