|Mangrove Cuckoo (Photo by Toe Torres)|
|Connecticut Warbler (Photo by Toe Torres)|
Then we reached A. D. Barnes park and began the search for a Connecticut Warbler. We searched the most likely locale in the park for a long time and saw almost no birds, let alone a Connecticut. But before we left, Toe suggested that we search one more place in the park. Why not? So we drove to the new spot, walked in and Toe said, "Let's walk back into this little area." We took a few steps in and there it was, a Connecticut Warbler perched up on a branch. I was so startled and so engaged with watching the little guy hop around that I forgot I even had a camera with me. Fortunately, Toe snapped off the terrific shot you see above, right.
|Purple Swamphen, Immature|
As time consuming as that search was, the next one was even easier than getting the cuckoo had been. We drove over to the Dolphin Mall, parked, and dodged traffic to cross the street. It actually took longer to cross that street than to find the target bird. As soon as we reached the retention pond we saw a Purple Swamphen in an open patch right below us. Check. That was the third lifer and seventh target bird for the day.
|Common Myna (Photo by Toe Torres)|
We next drove to another part of town - no, I don't really know where - and parked at a gas station. We got out and started watching the skies. Within just a few minutes we had a Sharp-shinned Hawk skirting the trees across the road and more Cave Swallows darting out from under the nearby bridge. And eventually we got clear, satisfying looks at a White-crowned Pigeon.
That's when the truth hit me. I turned to him and babbled something like, "We got all five lifers ... I never expected to get all five lifers, but we got all five lifers!" Yup, that's me, the articulate one with the PhD.
In the end, the day's list was remarkable. The group only tallied about 45 species for the day. However, I may have mentioned that FIVE of the them were lifers. I'm at 489 now with a big trip to Arizona and New Mexico about ten weeks away. Also, fifteen of them were new for my 12DBY list putting me at 173. That's a small number compared to the state's big guns in the birding world, but heck, I'm thrilled. As to our target birds, we missed only the Black-whiskered Vireo, a long shot at best. And finally, eleven of them were new for me in Miami-Dade County, breaking the 100 barrier for the 37th time among Florida's 67 counties. That, my friends, is a successful day!
Toe, I owe you, buddy. Again.
|Another Look at a Common Myna|
|Purple Swamphen Adult|