Friday, January 3, 2014

Florida Everglades 2014 - Day 1

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale, grabbed a rental car and headed up to our hotel in Jupiter.  Next morning, we started our birding extravaganza by driving across the street to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.  Classic Dave Russell photo!  Not five seconds out of the car and he's spotted a bird!
Behind the museum is a lovely expanse of lawn that leads down to the mouth of the Loxahatchee River.  Looking across the river and under the bridge were a group of Brown Pelicans sunning themselves.
Next stop was the 11,383 acre Jonathan Dickinson State Park about 5 miles north of Jupiter, FL.  This is the largest protected coastal area between Hobe Sound and Miami (about 90 miles south).  But more importantly, it is reported to contain the sixth-largest protected population of Florida Scrub-Jays.  So, the game was on.  Find the Jays!

We drove along the low oak scrub in the northeastern part of the park, just as the ABA Birder's Guide to Florida recommended.  Nothing.  It was getting chilly, so we stopped to put on our jackets and bundle up.  This is me and Jan.  I thought it would be warm enough to wear shorts, but NOT!

We stopped to pish in the woods, and some other birders in a Jaguar (really? birding in a Jaguar?) stopped by to chat. They were from England and come here to bird with their kids.  How funny is that?! But, no Scrub Jays.

We got back in the car and parked in a little parking lot near some pines and started walking down a trail. Umm, I don't think we should go down this trail, Dave.  I don't care that you think you heard a Scrub Jay down there, either!

We took a different trail, and then, Dave heard the Jays!  I had to run to keep up with him as he followed the sound.  Then, I heard it too!  A Jay!

 Plus, it was a banded bird.  As we all stood there clicking our cameras trying to get as many photos as we could before the bird left, he jumped off of his perch and flew just 6 feet from us!  Spectacular Life Bird for me!!
 We birded the park for another hour or so and then decided that since our luck was running high, we'd head inland to the DuPuis Wildlife Management Area and try our luck at getting Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.  These birds were reintroduced to the management area and nest clusters are in trees marked with white bands.  So, all we had to do was find the marked trees and search the area around them.  Easy, right?
We started in a nice little campground, and picked up some warblers.

Dave got this great photo of a Pine Warbler in a Pine Tree.  Pretty cool!

Then got back in the car and started looking for the nest trees.  We came upon this beautiful grove or meadow that was so lush and green it was like an oasis! But, no woodpeckers here.

It was pretty chilly at the Management Area - low 50's with strong wind gusts.  I thought we'd left the cold weather back in Indiana! We bundled up in our hoodies and windbreakers, but still, I was freezing!  We did see a Common Ground Dove, which was way cool!

After several hours of hardcore birding, we came up with no Red-cockadeds.  We did see several Red-shouldered Hawks, Butter-butts, Pine and Palm Warblers, and a smattering of ducks.  Dave has the comprehensive list, and I think we saw over 40 species today.

By the time we finished looking for the woodpeckers we were all starving.  We looked up a place on Trip Advisor, called Harry and the Natives restaurant, which sounded pretty interesting.  So, we dropped in and had a great time reading all of the silly signs hanging on the walls!
Great burgers, real fries, and an excellent Rueben!  Oh, and they have Don Julio, so I had a stellar margarita!  We left Harry's and headed over to the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge on the barrier island.  By now, the clouds had rolled in and it was pretty breezy. This is me bundling up to walk on the beach!

We walked up the boardwalk and down to the beach. That's Dave scanning for birds. Not much moving now.
We did get great looks at a Willet who flew low over the waves and then landed right in front of us on the beach.  I couldn't get a good picture of it.

 The sun was beginning to drop low in the sky and as we made our way back up the beach to the car, I caught a glimpse of these cool waves in the sand.  Ahhhh, I love the serenity of the beach.
A superb day of birding.  Tomorrow we head to Loxahatchee NWR for Limpkin and then into Miami for Lasagre's Flycatcher.

1 comment:

Sister Marty said...

Sounds like a great day Jill, Dave, Jan and Bob...hope you have another good day tomorrow. Here it is going up to the 40's...tonight it is only 10...brrrrr...thanks for keeping up posted with your trip...good luck tomorrow.