16-05-2001

After a bad night, due to mosquitoes, we got up early, which resulted in another Antillean Nighthawk. Eco Pond was good for our only Solitary Sandpiper but we had to leave running because of all the blood-sucking insects! At one of the sites mentioned in the ABA guide (p. 238) we found, without any difficulties I might say, a few singing Cape Sable Seaside Sparrows. This species is said to be hard to find because it only sings between 8 and 10 a.m., on days with good weather and no wind during the right season (between March and June), but a bit of luck never harms anyone. The renowned (because of the mosquitoes) Snake Bight Trail we didn’t even try. We had another stroke of luck at Paurotis Pond: a Baird’s Sandpiper amongst the Semipalmated Sandpipers.
Because of a busy schedule we left the park while birding. The route we followed through the northern parts of the Everglades (Big Cypress NP) looked more like what I had in mind about the Everglades. The dusty route 839 was very dry and was only good for our first Pileated Woodpecker. Our next site on the agenda, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, was a feast to the eye when it comes to landscapes but considering birds it only produced some common species like Pine Warbler and Downy Woodpecker. Exceptions, however, were 2 fanatically calling Barred Owls, even though this big cousin of our Tawny owl did not show itself. Those who are familiar by imitating Tawny Owls in Europe to lure them into answering can try the same with these Barred Owls, given that you adapt your call a bit to WHO-COOKS-FOR-YOU. The fact that the boardwalk section of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was entirely dried out illustrates the fact that we were too late in the season as well as the fact that it has been very dry these last few years in southern Florida (especially this year).
After Corkscrew we drove on toward the coast: Marco Island. Here you find a interesting stretch of beach: Tiger Tail Beach. Here we found, among many common waders, Wilson’s Plovers and, with another stroke of luck, a late Piping Plover, which should have been gone to its breeding grounds by now. Black Skimmers were common. A ‘greater’ skua, flying over the beach, was not identified alas, because of the fair chance that it might have been a South Polar Skua.