American Alligator


Winter in Florida
22 Jan -25 Feb 2006
by Henry Detwiler

During a five-week DOD Class at Patrick AFB, I spent my weekends and a couple of evenings searching out what birds I could find in this diverse  state.
species--bird list is at the bottom of the page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.   

The Everglades is synonymous with Florida, so early one Saturday I headed south.  I was sidetracked by Loxahatchee NWR, where I watched a perched Snail Kite, lots of shorebirds, a telephone-pole-nesting  Pileated Woodpecker, and a hungry Limpkin.  One of the local birders showed me this Great Horned Owl on a nest, no doubt incubating eggs.

Great Horned Owl
Loxahatchee NWR

Loxahatchee NWR

A couple of elegant dragonflies and butterflies added to the diversity.  This Seaside Dragonlet was a first for me--but then I've only started "oding" since moving to Phoenix.  The cypress swamp boardwalk made a nice walk in the early morning, but only produced two birds:  Carolina Wren & Red-shouldered Hawk.

Seaside Dragonlet, Loxahatchee NWR

Gulf Fritillary
Loxahatchee NWR

A side trip to Ft Lauderdale failed to net me the Smooth-billed Ani, but I was able to add the Purple Swamphen at the library pond.  There were lots of parrots in the Kendall area, but no obvious bulbuls or orioles.  I spent the night at Homestead AFB, and left very early the next morning for the Everglades.  At Royal Hammock, Barred Owls serenaded me from the woods while I watched alligator eyes shining in my spotlight.

Little Blue Heron
Everglades National Park

As the dawn began to brighten, more birds began to stir, and I saw waders of all kinds:  cormorants, herons, egrets, and anhingas.  Along the Gumbo Limbo Trail I ran into a small flock of warblers, including Northern Parula, Black & White, and American Redstart.



Sunset, Patrick AFB

Anhinga, Everglades National Park

The Anhinga Trail was hopping with both tourists and birds by the time I returned to it.  On one of the boardwalk overlooks a dozen photographers were huddled together in a ball, their long lenses protruding like so many quills of a porcupine.

I myself concentrated on the birds feeding within meters of the walkway.  Little Blue Heron, Wood Storks, and Anhingas fed unperturbed, stalking fish and crustaceans, even as I stalked them for that "perfect" shot.  On one section of the trail a small flock of Black Vultures hopped along the boardwalk railing, posing for any and all who wished to take their picture.

Wood Stork, Everglades

Black Vulture
Everglades National Park

Next to another portion of the trail, this Wood Stork stirred up the water with its foot, dislodging tasty morsels from the murky bottom.  We get these storks at the Salton Sea, too, but never ever this trusting and camera-friendly

Wood Stork, Everglades


Painted Bunting
Everglades National Park

When I finally tore myself away from this birder's wonderland, I headed farther into the Glades.  At one of the hammocks I scored with a Black-throated Blue Warbler, and on the trail to Flamingo Bay found both Prairie Warbler and Painted Bunting.

Prairie Warbler, Everglades

Hurricane damage had closed off 90% of the Flamingo Bay recreation area, so at noon I started on the long ride "home" to Patrick AFB.

Brown Pelicans at Sunset, Patrick AFB

Back to Page 1, Merritt NWR & Cocoa Beach

Florida, 22 Jan - 25 Feb 2006
# Species
1 Common Loon
2 Pied-billed Grebe
3 Horned Grebe
4 Gannet
5 American White Pelican
6 Brown Pelican
7 Anhinga
8 Double-crested Cormorant
9 American Bittern
10 Least Bittern
11 Great Blue Heron
12 Great Egret
13 Snowy Egret
14 Little Blue Heron
15 Tricolored Heron
16 Reddish Egret
17 Cattle Egret
18 Green Heron
19 Black-crowned Night Heron
20 Wood Stork
21 Roseate Spoonbill
22 Glossy Ibis
23 White Ibis
24 Sandhill Crane
25 Mottled Duck
26 Snow Goose
27 American Wigeon
28 Blue-winged Teal
29 Mallard
30 Northern Shoveler
31 Northern Pintail
32 Green-winged Teal
33 Redhead
34 Ring-necked Duck
35 Lesser Scaup
36 Bufflehead
37 Hooded Merganser
38 Red-breasted Merganser
39 Ruddy Duck
40 Limpkin
41 Osprey
42 Snail Kite
43 Bald Eagle
44 Northern Harrier
45 Sharp-shinned Hawk
46 Cooper's Hawk
47 Red-shouldered Hawk
48 Red-tailed Hawk
49 American Kestrel
50 Merlin
51 Wild Turkey
52 Virginia Rail
53 Sora
54 Purple Gallinule
55 Common Moorhen
56 American Coot
57 Black-bellied Plover
58 Semipalmated Plover
59 Killdeer
60 American Oystercatcher
61 Black-necked Stilt
62 American Avocet
63 Purple Sandpiper
64 Greater Yellowlegs
65 Lesser Yellowlegs
66 Willet
67 Spotted Sandpiper
68 Marbled Godwit
69 Ruddy Turnstone
70 Red Knot
71 Sanderling
72 Western Sandpiper
73 Least Sandpiper
74 Dunlin
75 Short-billed Dowitcher
76 Wilson's Snipe
77 Pomarine Jaeger
78 Turkey Vulture
79 Iceland Gull
# Species
80 Greater Black-backed Gull
81 Crested Caracara
82 Black Vulture
83 Laughing Gull
84 Bonaparte's Gull
85 Ring-billed Gull
86 Herring Gull
87 Lesser Black-backed Gull
88 Caspian Tern
89 Royal Tern
90 Sandwich Tern
91 Forster's Tern
92 Black Skimmer
93 Rock Pigeon
94 White-winged Dove
95 Mourning Dove
96 Common Ground-Dove
97 Eurasian Collared Dove
98 Monk Parakeet
99 Eastern Screech Owl
100 Barred Owl
101 Belted Kingfisher
102 Red-cockaded Woodpecker
103 Red-bellied Woodpecker
104 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
105 Downy Woodpecker
106 Northern Flicker
107 Pileated Woodpecker
108 Eastern Phoebe
109 Ash-throated Flycatcher
110 Great Crested Flycatcher
111 Western Kingbird
112 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
113 Loggerhead Shrike
114 White-eyed Vireo
115 Blue-headed Vireo
116 Blue Jay
117 Florida Scrub Jay
118 American Crow
119 Fish Crow
120 Purple Martin
121 Tree Swallow
122 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
123 Tufted Titmouse
124 Brown-headed Nuthatch
125 House Wren
126 Carolina Wren
127 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
128 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
129 Eastern Bluebird
130 American Robin
131 Gray Catbird
132 Northern Mockingbird
133 Brown Thrasher
134 European Starling
135 Prairie Warbler
136 Black-throated Blue Warbler
137 Common Yellowthroat
138 Yellow-rumped Warbler
139 Palm Warbler
140 Orange-crowned Warbler
141 N. Parula
142 Black-and-white Warbler
143 American Redstart
144 Yellow-throated Warbler
145 Pine Warbler
146 Eastern Towhee
147 Savannah Sparrow
148 Swamp Sparrow
149 White-crowned Sparrow
150 Cardinal
151 Painted Bunting
152 Red-winged Blackbird
153 Eastern Meadowlark
154 Common Grackle
155 Boat-tailed Grackle
156 Brown-headed Cowbird
157 American Goldfinch
158 House Sparrow

Photos Henry Detwiler