TAS Van Trip to the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas

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Posted by Brian Rapoza on 21:14:23 04/24/11

Nine birders joined Paul Bithorn and me for this weekend s TAS van trip to the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. On Friday, we worked our way down to Key West, stopping along the way at Card Sound Bridge, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, Sombrero Beach Golf Course, Marathon Government Center and Bahia Honda State Park. After checking in at our hotel in Key West, we ended the day at Key West Airport, but failed to see or hear any Antillean Nighthawks there.

On Saturday, we took the ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park. Joining us was Key West bird guide Mark Hedden. Though choppy seas were forecast, especially on our return to Key West, we enjoyed a relatively smooth ride both ways. A Brown Booby was seen just after departing for Key West; two more were on a channel marker near Garden Key. Over 60 Masked Boobies were on Hospital Key; the usual thousands of Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies were seen in and around the national park. Bridled Terns and immature Northern Gannets were also seen en route. Garden Key held a smattering of migrant songbirds, mostly Caribbean-wintering warblers, but it was enough to keep us occupied during our four-hour visit. By the end of the day, our trip list included seventeen species of warblers.

We spent Sunday morning in the Key West area, visiting Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Indigeneous Park and Key West Botanical Garden. On our way back to Miami, we searched for waterbirds in wetland areas between Key West and Marathon. We also stopped on Sugerloaf Key, where we searched unsuccessfully for Mangrove Cuckoo. Since several participants had never seen this elusive cuckoo, we made a return visit to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, where we had great looks at a mated pair, a wonderful way to end our trip.

Here s our trip list, which includes all birds seen in Florida City, the Keys and Dry Tortugas:
Muscovy Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Red-breasted Merganser
Masked Booby
Brown Booby
Northern Gannet
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Magnificent Frigatebird
Great Blue Heron
Great White Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
White Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Northern Harrier
Cooper s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer (heard)
Black-necked Stilt
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Ruddy Turnstone
Least Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Brown Noddy
Sooty Tern
Bridled Tern
Least Tern
Roseate Tern
Common Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
White-crowned Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Mangrove Cuckoo
Eastern Screech-Owl (heard)
Burrowing Owl
Common Nighthawk (heard)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Gray Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Black-whiskered Vireo
Blue Jay
Fish Crow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Common Myna
Tennessee Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler (Cuban race at Card Sound Bridge, nominate race on Garden Key)
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Worm-eating Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow

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