Fort Zachary Taylor Historic SP, Key West

Yesterday I had my second albatross of the year,  unfortunately it was around my neck!  Linda was being difficult.  I wanted to stay last night  in Florida City, and work the Everglades again this morning.  She talked me into staying on Key Largo so she’d have someplace to explore while I was birding. That seemed reasonable, but the problem began as we drove south towards Key West. We kept driving and driving and soon we were very tired and on Big Pine Key where we ended up settling for a room that was very small to say the least.  I birded Big Pine Key early, but had absolutely nothing so at 9:00 AM I grabbed Linda and headed down to Key West. I’d heard from Larry Manfredi that Ft. Zachary Taylor Historic Park could be good in migration.  In fact some of the most exciting West Indies rarities have been found here over the years. I dropped Linda off on Duval Street and went to the park.  Four Gray Kingbirds greeted me as I entered the park.

Gray Kingbird at Ft. Zachary Taylor SP (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

At the nature trail, I ran into Carl Goodrich which was a blessing in disguise.  Carl birds the park every day and new all the micro hotspots.  Migrants were everywhere!  12 Yellow-billed Cuckoos, at least three Chuck-Will’s-Widow, and six species of warblers three of which were new for the year.  We parted for lunch.  Linda and I had a great lunch on Duval Street at SweeTeas.  The chicken salad sandwich was tasty and D’s Collards were so good I asked for the recipe though I was told it was a secret.  After lunch, I once again met Carl who showed me some additional  hotspots before returning to Ft. Zachary Taylor SP to see what might have showed up during the day. It was hot and rather  though I was able to photograph a Chuck-Will’s-Widow.  At 6:00 PM we wrapped up the day with a clean look of a Louisiana Waterthrush.  Tomorrow, I’ll bird the Everglades in the morning and Linda will morph back into the lovely and understanding wife she is!

Chuck-Will's-Widow (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

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3 Responses to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic SP, Key West

  1. Great Florida day! Congratulations! That is super!

  2. Tom Wilberding says:

    Battle of the sexes, John, and you’re not alone. For example, my father liked to downhill ski. My mother tried it, but when she fell she could not get up, so he let her retire early from downhill skiing. She would tag along on family ski trips, but had nothing to do but prepare dinner for all of us kids and my father, no fun. So like many thousands of other wives, she stayed home and accepted (sort of) the role of “ski widow” every winter.

    I think there are at least as many “bird widows” as “ski widows.” Such is life. Good luck out there, and best to you and Linda.

  3. John Vanderpoel says:

    Hey Gabriel,

    How many birds have you seen this year?


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