October 21, 2017
Camille and I headed to Miami last Sunday to see what parrot species we could get. Using Bill Pranty’s “A Birder’s Guide to Florida”, we hoped to beef up our life lists with some “easy” to get exotic birds.
On our way, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit Evergreen Cemetery in Ft. Lauderdale [map]. This cemetery is a lovely spot for migrants and the occasional vagrant or exotic. This is where many birders flocked to see the Variegated Flycatcher a couple of years ago.
The place was hopping with warblers, including American Redstarts, Black-and-White, Bay-breasted, Cape May, and Black-throated Blue Warblers.
When there are small birds concentrated in an area, you can bet small raptors aren’t far away. This Cooper’s Hawk was trying to hide from mobbing Blue Jays.
A small Peregrine Falcon was also cruising over and around the cemetery, as well as a couple of American Kestrels.
Here’s the complete eBird list from the morning at Evergreen Cemetery:
From Ft. Lauderdale we headed to South Miami to find exotic parrot species and track down White-crowned Pigeons. These pigeons are always showing up on eBird alerts and in e-mailing list reports, but each trip either of us has made to south Florida has come up with no White-crowned Pigeons. I’ll save you the suspense: We didn’t see any on this trip either.
But we did get some parrots! At the Baptist Hospital [map], we had almost given up on seeing any birds at all, besides the numerous Muscovy Ducks.
But on our second look around, a large flock of loud Mitred Parakeets flew into a tree in the parking lot. Several minutes later, another large flock flew into a second tree. These parrots are extremely loud, and at times they synchronized their calls into a raucous, rollicking cacophony.
On the opposite side of the larger pond some more Mitred Parakeets flew in, joining a pair of smaller parrots, which turned out to be Yellow-chevroned Parakeets.
A few other feathered friends were around, including a small flock of Egyptian Geese. They were a bit flighty (no pun intended), but one bird was bolder and even struck some poses for us.
There were some domestic waterfowl, as well. I was hoping for a Greylag Goose, and this bird was the closest I could find.
Here’s the eBird list for the Baptist Hosptial Area, including the neighborhood to its north (where we found no White-crowned Pigeons):
From the hospital area, we went in to a few of the area neighborhoods, which are known to host warblers as well as established exotics, like Spot-breasted Orioles and Red-whiskered Bulbuls.
At the King’s Creek Village [map] townhouse development, we had some success! The last time we visited this area, we saw a Red-whiskered Bulbul, but were unable to photograph it. This time, we were ready!
Among the more common Palm Warblers and Northern Parulas, we also saw Cape May and Blackburnian Warblers, and one real rarity: A Nashville Warbler.
The complete eBird list for King’s Creek Village is here (with more good photos from Camille):
After King’s Creek Village, we made two more stops, hoping to get White-crowned Pigeons and more parrots. At Ocean Bank [map] (a very urban setting), there have been White-chevroned Parakeets roosting just outside the atrium. We did not see them, but we did see some Common Mynas with nesting materials in a billboard structure.
We then made our way to the Miller Drive parrot roost [map], hoping to get more parrot species as they came in for the night. Unfortunately there were not many parrots, though we were treated to a fly by of a flock Red-masked Parakeets as the sun set. While we were waiting to see what parrots would flock in, we saw more warblers and even some non-avian friends.
When it was clear there would be minimal roosting going on at this particular place, we made our way to Fuch’s Park [map], which is often an alternate roost site. But when we arrived there, it was dead quiet, with no parrots (and very few birds) present.
Here are the remaining eBird lists for the day:
The sun was setting by now, and it was time to head home. Day trips to south Florida are always long, but rewarding. We never got our White-crowned Pigeon (deemed a “common” bird by some), and I joke that it’s a cryptid, like Big Foot. But I’ll be back to get it, along with the elusive Mangrove Cuckoo. There are plenty of birding adventures to be had before then!