aba events

ABA Birding Rally -- South Florida

Photos by Mark Hedden

Birding in South Florida in the spring is a bit like playing a slot machine rigged in your favor. You don’t know exactly how it’s going to work out, but odds are something good will happen.

Between the Everglades, the surrounding agricultural areas, the Florida Bay ecosystem, the upper Keys, and various parks and neighborhoods in Miami, it is hard to not see great birds.

The most reliable birds in South Florida are the resident species, such as Wood Stork, White-crowned Pigeon, Roseate Spoonbill, Purple Gallinule, Swallow-tailed Kites and Black-bellied Whistling Duck. But there are a number of resident species that give you a sense of jackpot when you find them – American Flamingo, Snail Kite, Mangrove Cuckoo, Cable Sable Seaside Sparrow, Short-tailed Hawk, Shiny Cowbird and Smooth-billed Ani among them.

Miami’s urban areas are the home to large populations of escaped exotic birds, many of which are ABA countable, including Spot-breasted Oriole, Common Myna, Nanday Parakeet, Green Parakeet, and Red-whiskered Bulbul.

Late April is also the northbound migration. Many neotropical migrants come up from the Caribbean or fly across the Gulf of Mexico and South Florida is crucial stopover habitat for them. Dozens of species of songbirds pass through the area – warblers, thrush, buntings and grosbeaks, as well as a handful of raptors.

And then there are the Caribbean strays. Almost every spring something shows up. La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Western Spindalis, Key West Quail-dove, Cuban Vireo, Loggerhead Kingbird or, well, pretty much anything.

We will spend time birding in the Everglades

No matter what, birding in South Florida is always an adventure.

When: April 26-30, 2018

Where: We will base ourselves in Homestead, central to Everglades National Park, Miami, and the Upper Keys.

How much: $1195 per person, double occupancy. Single Supplement $250.

Keys & Dry Tortugas Extension

Key West and Dry Tortugas extension

Keep on Birding with us in the Upper Keys, stopping at sites in Islamorada and Marathon to seek out migrants and local specialties, such as Mangrove Cuckoo, White-crowned Pigeons and Roseate Tern. two well-known Key West migrant traps.  Then then we will venture off to the Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west of Key West. The park is home to the massive Civil War-era Fort Jefferson, as well as the only North American breeding colonies of Masked Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, Sooty Tern, and Brown Noddy. The fort is also often a major stopover for migrants and rarities, with sightings in recent years of such species as Loggerhead Kingbird, Black Noddy, Red-billed Tropicbird, and the Caribbean subspecies of Short-eared Owl. You won’t want to miss it!

When: April 30 to May 2, 2018

How Much: $900 per person double occupancy $150 single supplement

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