Monday, February 20, 2017

Trip to Florida and Grand Bahama-Part 4: Florida again with a bonus day in the sun due to a snowstorm up north

Northern Parula, Bill Baggs Cape Florida SP, Key Biscayne, FL, Feb 12, 2017
Cape May Warbler, Bill Baggs Cape Florida SP, Key Biscayne, FL, Feb 12, 2017
Prairie Warbler, Bill Baggs Cape Florida SP, Key Biscayne, FL, Feb 12, 2017
Scrub and mangrove habitat, Bill Baggs Cape Florida SP, Key Biscayne, FL, Feb 12, 2017 (there is a Kirtland's Warbler somewhere in there)
After spending some time rebooking our flight home, finding a hotel for Sunday and extending our rental car for another day we had another unexpected day to spend in sunny, warm Florida. I noticed a sighting from Saturday of a very out of place Kirtland's Warbler in a park on Key Biscayne south of Miami and after seeing video of the bird there was no doubt on the identification. This very range restricted and endangered warbler breeds in Michigan and winter in the Bahamas with no known records of the species in the US during winter. The timing points more toward an overwintering bird instead of an early migrant. Thankfully we were looking for a place to spend the day and it didn't take much convincing to make the 45 minute drive down to Bill Baggs Cape Florida SP and try to find the bird. We didn't arrive until late morning and the reports from multiple birders already there all negative but I was still hopeful. We checked the area where the bird had been seen but we also had no luck so we decided to start searching the many nearby areas that also featured some decent habitat. Although we ran across a number of mixed species flocks none of the them featured the sought after bird. After a brief stop for lunch I continued the search once again and covered some of the same areas as well as new ones but still came up empty. As we were making our last run down another trail we ran into some other birders from earlier and found out they also had no better luck than we did finding the bird but they did point us toward a location that featured a female Western Spindalis and Cape May Warbler. We had much better luck with these species as well as a decent numbers of Northern Parula. It would have been nice to see the Kirtland's Warbler again as I have only seen them once before up in Michigan and never got photos but no luck this time. I'm certain the bird is still in the area and will hopefully be relocated, perhaps once there are less crowds around....UPDATE...the bird was relocated on Thursday the 16th and showed very well for many people.  It was right in an area I was looking for it in but I somehow missed it!

Overall the trip produced a total of 126 species with 81 species in the Bahamas and 90 species in Florida with 13 life bird (three in Florida and ten in the Bahamas).  As far as warblers go overall for the trip I managed to find a total of 20 species of warbler with Florida producing 15 species and the Bahamas producing 17 (obviously some overall with specific species).  Additional information concerning warblers on the trip can be found here:

Loads of additional photos from the trip can be found at the following links:

Grand Bahama:


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