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My son Philip and I decided to do some late afternoon, early evening 
birding.  Philip has not seen a Short-eared Owl so I told him we would 
try and find one.  The farm fields just before the entrance to 
Everglades National park have not been plowed this season.  Apparently 
they will not farm these areas this year as part of the Everglades 
restoration project.  The fields are really nicely overgrown with mostly 
native weeds and not too much exotic stuff growing in it yet. 

Just before going to check these fields, we looked for Scissor-tailed 
Flycatchers and Western Kingbirds not too far from where we live.  We 
had 7-Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and 5-Western Kingbirds.  These birds 
were seen on s.w. 217 ave. north of s.w. 312 st. on the power lines on 
the west side of the road, about a quarter mile north of s.w. 312 
street.  This is due west of Homestead.

We then went to check the fields along state road 9336, the road that 
goes into Everglades National Park.  The overgrown fields on the north 
side of the road had no less than 14-Northern Harriers and 
3-White-tailed Kites.  We also had 8-nighthawks which may have been 
Lesser Nighthawks.  I feel confident that this area may have some rare 
raptors this winter, perhaps a Rough-legged Hawk!  We looked here after 
sunset but did not see any Short-eared Owls.  We then went to Lucky 
Hammock just west of here and and found 2-Short-eared Owls in the 
overgrown fields just south of Lucky Hammock.  Along with the 
Short-eared Owls, we had at least 3-Whip-poor-wills flying around Luck 
Hammock.  We drove the grassy road going west, on the south side of 
Lucky Hammock and had beautiful views of a perched Short-eared Owl.  The 
owl was sitting in the middle of the road allowing us to get within 
about 30-feet of it.  We then backed up and never flushed the owl 
looking at it the whole time.  For some reason I decided not to bring 
the camera, what was I thinking!!

We then drove south through the annex area looking for more owls or 
other night birds.  We saw perhaps another one or two Whip-poor-wills 
which was nice but no other owls.  Our feeders at our house are still 
getting a few Shiny Cowbirds, anyone who would like to see them can 
contact me.  Morning and late afternoon seem to be the best time.

Larry Manfredi
Homestead, FL.
E-mail:  [log in to unmask]
http://www.southfloridabirding.com

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