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Thirty birders assembled for the Tropical Audubon Society's annual "Exotics" fieldtrip on Saturday, December 1, 2007. We met at 1:00 p.m. in the emergency overflow parking lot of Baptist Hospital on Kendall Drive and proceeded to walk to the neighborhood directly across the street from Baptist Hospital (Brian Rapoza's; Birding Florida-pg. 104) on Kendall Drive (S.W. 88 St.) and S.W. 87 Ave. We walked around several blocks across Kendall Dr. and soon located a Loggerhead Shrike, a species in decline in many areas of the country, but holding its own in South Florida. We could hear Monk Parakeets concealed in their stick-nest built around an FP&L transformer. The recent invasion of Cooper's Hawks into South Florida seemed to make the parakeets a little more wary about coming out into the open. 
 
The temperature was a balmy 85 degrees, but a 10 knot wind made the birding/exercise quite comfortable. A flyover of Mitred Parakeets created a little excitement but the birding was rather slow. 
A dark morph Short-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Black and Turkey Vultures,Ring-billed Gull and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were seen during the walk. We also located Muscovies, Rock Pigeons, Eurasian Collared Dove and European Starlings and House Sparrows on the hospital grounds.
 
Disappointed in not seeing any Red-Whiskered Bulbuls, we went to "Plan B". We piled into several cars and drove slowly through the neighborhood we had just walked. One of the cars soon spotted two Hill Mynahs on a telephone pole. We heard the ventrilocal call of a Bulbul in the distance and soon spotted one on the wire adjacent to the Monk Parakeets stick nest and three parakeets flew in to see what all of the excitement was about. Our persistence had paid off!
 
Our caravan then headed to Miami Springs to the Fair Havens Nursing Home (Rapoza pg. 99), where we immediately had two Yellow-chevroned Parakeets perched in an Australian Pine. A Spot-breasted Oriole was spotted on a nearby wire. Its neon orange head glowed in the afternoon sun. Things were looking up, but the best was yet to come. While driving the neighborhood around the nursing home, one of the cars found the mother-lode. A flock of Aratingas, like Christmas ornaments dotting an Australian Pine, allowed us excellent scope views and several photographs. Species identified, included Green Parakeet, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Red-fronted, Mitred, Red-Masked and White-eyed Parakeets with a tincture of Yellow-Chevroned Parakeets thrown in for good measure. Brian Rapoza's; Birding Florida has an excellent chart on pages 21 and 22 titled "Parrots of Miami", which list Species, Field Marks, Abundance in Miami, Locations, including Miami Springs, Miami Shores/Biscayne Gardens, South Miami/Kendall and Other Locations in Miami-Dade. 
 
We spotted a pair of parrots in flight and followed in our cars to where we spotted two Orange-winged Parrots in another Australian Pine. This tree species is a favorite roost for psittacids, who feast on the cone-like fruit of the Casuarinas. We had parked in an alley next to my good friend Bob Calvert's house and he soon appeared to check out what all the commotion was all about and while enjoying some friendly banter with Bob, his wife Rhonda appeared and began taking photos of the group and seeking quotes for an article that she will write for the River Cities Gazette regarding our birding adventure in Miami Springs. 
 
Our last stop was Apache and Wren near Prince Field and the Miami Springs pool on Westward Drive, but saw the flock of sixteen parrots flying in the distance as they left their traditional congregational site at dusk. The day before, the group included fourteen Orange-winged Parrots and a single Red and Yellow-Crowned Parrot.
 
After five-hours of birding, our group was practically a family. Our exotics total finished up at 17 species. Life is good........ urban birding with good friends. Yes.....a few Negra Modelos were hoisted as our celebratory libation. Hopefully participants will post their photos for your viewing pleasure.
 
Paul Bithorn
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Virginia Gardens, Florida
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