Just returned on a 7am flight from Ft. Myer’s to LaGuardia. I had a great time exploring a part of Florida I’d never been to before. There were many nice surprises, birdwise as well as beautiful scenery and great weather. Just like I did for smaller trips like Cape May, I’ll be making one post for each day of the trip and putting them into a new category: ‘FL Trip Mar-Apr ’10’. Just click on the category name to access all the posts.
Although my family vacations in FL once every year, I have never birded the Keys or the Everglades/Miami area before. There were too many new birds (including subspecies, i.e. Great White Heron) to see in 5 full days and I realized I had put a little too much on my plate. However, because of treatment and the like this was all the time I had, although a return trip to southern FL is needed.
My trip went like this:
Mar 30: Arrival, Night in Key West
Mar 31: Dry Tortugas, Night in Key West
Apr 1: Local Key West birding, Night in Key West
Apr 2: Drive to Miami, with some birding mixed in, Night in Miami
Apr 3: Everglades, Night in Lake Suzy
Apr 4: Central Gulf Birding, Night in Lake Suzy
Apr 5: Departure for NY LaGuardia
As you can see there was a lot stuffed into this small itinerary and not all of it went to plan. I had to give up most of Miami because the city was way to big and we too many stops in the Keys. I birded with my father his partner and good friend, Vin and wife, Deanna. Although Deanna was the only other birder my father and Vin have lived with birders and understand their (at times!) obsessive nature : )
The first half of the trip was decidedly laid-back as we were restricted to a certain area, but once the 2nd came around the pattern changed, and the second half of the trip was ruled by driving. The birding on both halves was terrific! Although I have seen all of FL’s common species, it is always enjoyable to have a slight change from the mix of birds we see in CT.
Key West was a beautiful town, not only with great birds but great food, history and of course the famous Key West sunsets! I really wished I had had more time there and cannot wait to bring the rest of the family back. The Dry Tortugas was the most incredible location visited. The birds and location were both incredible and meeting and trading stories with other birders was a real treat. The drive through the Keys was awesome both ways, with the 7 mile bridge definitely being my favorite part. Miami and vicinity was sketchy in some places and dirty rich type in others. It was a large city with a lot of traffic and a stressful place to bird. Although not as spectacular was the Tortugas, the Everglades was still magnificent. This was a place (like many others on the trip-but here the most) that I felt I needed more time at. Lake Suzy in the Port Charlotte area, where Vinny and Deanna own a place is a nice little town and is where I based the first of two great FL trips last year.
In total I got 14 lifers but I don’t know the exact number on my life list so it think it leaves me around 440. I saw some nice lifers but also got some nice photographs. Although it is fun to see birds new to you, I enjoy all birds, because all birds are special and have their place. Because I’m not the biggest ticker, I also had a small trip list, at 97. Still a decent number, though I probably could have hit 100 if more than half of the second part wasn’t spent driving.
More coming in the next few days.