Also see the PHOTO GALLERY

following the summary of the 2013 MBWeek.



January 7 - 13, 2013

I suppose I could understand why some would enjoy the 80-85 degree weather we experienced on a daily basis down in Florida. After all, temperatures close to zero were waiting for us back in Minnesota. But these record and near-record highs were relentless, and for me they mostly wore out their welcome after a few days. On the other hand, we mostly avoided Florida's other daunting challenge – traffic. True, driving into Miami to bird at Virginia Key on Thursday morning wasn't any fun, but this was about the only time we had to endure clogged roadways.

No matter what you thought of the weather and traffic, though, you'd have to agree that the birding went pretty well overall. While our attempts to find swamphens, bulbuls, and orioles may have been unsuccessful, useful information on the Western Spindalis and Bananaquit arrived too late to do us any good, and our limited itinerary did not include reliable scrub-jay locations, these were about our only disappointments. After all, we turned up 158 species, plus another 5 "non-countable" exotics, with nearly 50 of these not regularly found in Minnesota.

It's difficult to narrow down such a long list of birds into a manageable list of highlights, but some of my favorites were....

- Our full day in the Fort Myers area included a nice assortment of shorebirds during low tide at Bunche Beach, 2 (possibly 3) Razorbills near Sanibel Island's lighthouse, our first Snail Kite and second Limpkin at Harns Marsh, Monk Parakeets and Burrowing Owls in residential Cape Coral, and Nanday Parakeets on our second try near downtown Fort Myers.

- At Babcock-Webb WMA the next morning we found both Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Brown-headed Nuthatches at our first stop (along with hordes of ground-foraging Pine Warblers), an afternoon walk at Big Cypress Bend was highlighted by a family of Black Bears and a Barred Owl, our first Short-tailed Hawk later flew over the Tamiami Trail, and the afternoon ended with our best views of Snail Kites.

- After enduring a morning Miami rush hour, we found our first of two La Sagra's Flycatchers plus an unexpected Great Black-Hawk of dubious origin at Virginia Key, Yellow-chevroned Parakeets and two more Short-tailed Hawks were at Matheson Hammock, and a pair of entertaining (though non-countable) Hill Mynas appeared in Kendall.

- Our best birding day included a surprising group of cooperative White-crowned Pigeons at Paurotis Pond, a closely-heard Black Rail and a diurnal Barn Owl on the Coastal Trail, our first Purple Gallinule (and lifer #600 for Robin) at Anhinga Trail – all at Everglades National Park, and the day ended with those 4 western species of flycatchers just outside the park and the Common Mynas finally coming to roost near our motel.

- Short-tailed Hawk #5 flying low overhead in Kendall was the next day's highlight, and our final morning included our best Limpkin views, our second La Sagra's Flycatcher, and Painted Buntings at Green Cay – certainly a nice conclusion to our successful MBWeek.


Monday, January 7: noon arrival at Orlando airport; afternoon drive to Fort Meyers for first of 2 nights via Celery Fields near Sarasota and Oscar Scherer State Park; dinner at Gator Bites.

Tuesday, January 8: Bunche Beach, Sanibel Island lighthouse area, parakeet check at Broadway & Hanson, Calusa Nature Center, Harns Marsh, Cape Coral owls & parakeets, and successful return to Broadway & Hanson; dinner at Gator Bites / Fish Monger.

Wednesday, January 9: morning at Babcock-Webb WMA and Eagle Lakes Park; afternoon drive to Florida City for first of 3 nights via Faka Canal, Big Cypress Bend boardwalk, Oasis Visitors Center, and successful kite scan along Tamiami Trail; dinner at Mutineer.

Thursday, January 10: morning search for rarities at Virginia Key (twice) and Bill Baggs State Park; afternoon search for exotics at Matheson Hammock and Kendall area; dinner at El Toro Taco. 

Friday, January 11: Everglades National Park (mostly at Paurotis Pond, Coastal Trail, Eco Pond, Flamingo, West Lake, Anhinga Trail, and Coe Visitors Center), late afternoon at Lucky Hammock / C-111 Canal, and successful evening myna search; dinner at Capri.

Saturday, January 12: morning at Cutler wetlands, return to Kendall & vicinity for exotics, and Pembroke Pines; afternoon drive to West Palm Beach for last night via scrub-jay searches at Juno Beach and Carlin Park; dinner at Carrabba's.    

Sunday, January 13: final morning at Spanish River Park and Green Cay; departure for airport at noon for afternooon flights home.

Bird List

- "non-countable" exotics listed in parentheses

- "non-Minnesota" species (i.e., not on Minnesota Regular list) in boldface

(Egyptian Goose - if they count muscovys, why not these?)

Muscovy Duck (considered countable by the FL records committee)

Wood Duck (wild or injured bird at the Mutineer?)


Mottled Duck

Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler

Green-winged Teal

Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup

Red-breasted Merganser

Common Loon

Pied-billed Grebe

Wood Stork (even grazing along freeways)

Magnificent Frigatebird (flying over Fort Myers)

Double-crested Cormorant


American White Pelican

Brown Pelican

American Bittern (seen by some at Green Cay)

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Tricolored Heron

Reddish Egret (Bunche Beach)

Cattle Egret

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Silver Lakes Park)

White Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Roseate Spoonbill (Paurotis Pond)

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture


Snail Kite (Harns Marsh and along Tamiami Trail)

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Cooper's Hawk

(Great Black-Hawk - status uncertain at Virginia Key)

Red-shouldered Hawk

Short-tailed Hawk (5 individuals at 4 sites: Tamiami Trail, Virginia Key, Matheson Hammock, and Kendall!)

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel


Peregrine Falcon (Spanish River Park)

Black Rail (scolding notes at close range; heard-only along Coastal Trail)

King Rail (close, very vocal, but heard-only at Celery Fields)

Sora (Green Cay)

Purple Gallinule (Anhinga Trail and Green Cay)

Common Gallinule

American Coot

Limpkin (closest at Green Cay)

Sandhill Crane

Black-bellied Plover

Wilson's Plover (Bunche Beach)

Semipalmated Plover

Piping Plover (also at Bunche)


American Avocet

Spotted Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs


Lesser Yellowlegs

Marbled Godwit

Ruddy Turnstone

Red Knot (Bunche Beach)


Western Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper


Short-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher

Bonaparte's Gull

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Caspian Tern

Forster's Tern

Royal Tern

Sandwich Tern (Sanibel fly-bys)

Black Skimmer (best at Bunche Beach)

Razorbill (2 or 3 at Sanibel; part of an unusual influx of this alcid!)

Rock Pigeon

White-crowned Pigeon (several unexpectedly easy at Paurotis Pond!)

Eurasian Collared-Dove

White-winged Dove (Kendall)

Mourning Dove

Common Ground-Dove

Barn Owl (hunting by day along the Coastal Trail!)

Eastern Screech-Owl (Spanish River Park)

Burrowing Owl (residential yards in Cape Coral)

Barred Owl (Big Cypress Bend)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Red-cockaded Woodpecker (easily at Babcock-Webb)

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Monk Parakeet (best at Cape Coral)

Nanday Parakeet (finally at Broadway & Hanson in Fort Myers!)

(Mitred Parakeet - best in Kendall and potentially "countable")

(Yellow-chevroned Parakeet - best at Matheson Hammock; also potentially countable)

Eastern Phoebe

Vermilion Flycatcher (male at C-111 Canal)

Great Crested Flycatcher

La Sagra's Flycatcher (seen twice: Virginia Key and Green Cay!)

Tropical Kingbird (near Lucky Hammock)

Western Kingbird (ditto)

Loggerhead Shrike

White-eyed Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo (Spanish River Park)

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Purple Martin (early "spring" migrants)

Tree Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Green Cay)

Tufted Titmouse

Brown-headed Nuthatch (Babcock-Webb)

House Wren

Sedge Wren (mostly heard at Coastal Prairie Trail)

Carolina Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher

European Starling

Common Myna (finally flew in near the Travelodge)

(Hill Myna - potentially "countable" in Kendall)

Cedar Waxwing

Ovenbird (Spanish River Park)

Black-and-white Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler (Spanish River Park)

Common Yellowthroat

Northern Parula

Palm Warbler

Pine Warbler (especially numerous at Babcock-Webb)

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Eastern Towhee

Savannah Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Painted Bunting (Spanish River Park and Green Cay)

Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Common Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle

Bronzed Cowbird (unexpected at C-111 Canal)

Brown-headed Cowbird

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Significant Others:

Black Bear (amazingly tame at Big Cypress Bend!)

White-tailed Deer


American Alligator

American Crocodile (2 at Flamingo marina)

Common Snapping Turtle

Red-eared Slider

Green Iguana

Green Anole

Brown Anole

Brown Water Snake

Southern Cricket Frog (heard-only)



also see the Florida I MBWeek Photo Gallery


"Great White" Heron, Flamingo

Great Black-Hawk (origin unknown), Virginia Key

(Ann Inouye photo)

Short-tailed Hawk, Kendall

Purple Gallinule, Anhinga Trail

Limpkin, Green Cay

(Ann Inouye photo)

White-crowned Pigeon, Paurotis Pond

(Ann Inouye photo)

Burrowing Owls, Cape Coral

Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Babcock-Webb WMA

Monk Parakeet, Cape Coral

Nanday Parakeets, Fort Myers

La Sagra's Flycatcher, Green Cay

Common Myna, Florida City

Hill Myna, Kendall

*          *          *

Additional species (from April 2011 Photo Gallery)

Wood Stork

Magnificent Frigatebird

Glossy Ibis

(Vija Kelly photo)

Roseate Spoonbill

Snail Kite

(Vija Kelly photo)