Today, my last day in Florida started out like a lot of days on this trip. Hot weather and no birds. Got in to Florida City late last night due to some BAD advice from a California birder on Antillean Nighthawks, which turned out to be Least Terns. My morning jaunt over to Biscayne National Park to try and find a Smooth-billed Ani was a bust. I followed this up with a drive through the Everglades which was also very slow- 90 degree heat, lots of humidity and hardly any birds. Let’s face it, I was tired and very hot so decided to quit birding, return to the Travelodge and update my blog while I washed my clothes. I was also planning a nap, which hasn’t been in my schedule since last December.
A slow day to end a slow trip. I’d already planned the title of my blog post for the day, “Falling Flat in Florida”. The clothes were in the washer so I decided to check Tropical Audubon’s Bird Board before I had a snooze. Heck I didn’t even know about this particular list serve till Carl Goodrich told me about it yesterday.
There it was, only an hour and a half old. A Fork-tailed Flycatcher! I’ve not seen one in North America and hardly thought there would be an opportunity for one this year. The clothes were all in the washer so I threw on my geeky red running shorts along with my green birding shirt and flew out the door. After an hour and 20 minutes I was in F.t Lauderdale, but the wrong address. SW 9th Ave instead of SE 9th Avenue, which was 2 miles further east. That delay caused me to miss the bird. Angel & Mariel (met them two weeks prior at Crandon Park) last saw the bird 20 minutes before I arrived. Bummed out, I walked the cemetery and the surrounding neighborhood for an hour and a half. Even finding a Chimney Swift and Red-eyed Vireo, both new year birds but no consolation. What a drag to be this close to a Fork-tailed Flycatcher and fail. Now tired, I decided to drive the neighborhoods. I had one hour of light left might as well spend my last day in Florida chasing a rarity. I pulled into a Starbucks for a Mocha, but they were out of soy milk. The bathroom was being cleaned so I had to wait. But eventually I began searching again. 20 minutes later I saw it. A small kingbird with a long tail. Perched on a wire just east of the cemetery, it flew out 15 feet from it’s perch, snatch a bug and return. Unbelievable! The subpar day turned into a red banner day just like that. Texas- here I come!!!!!
(tomorrow I will post a more complete recap of the Dry Tortugas Trip)