Friday, April 22, 2016

Government Road At Alligator Alley

In late March there began eBird Florida Rare Bird Alerts from Government Road in Broward County for White-tailed Kite which is a species I have had great difficulty in observing at close range successfully.


The Common Grackle above (image 1) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

Government Road, which is more appropriately named Snake Road due to its curvaceous design, can lead one north from Alligator Alley (I-75) at mile marker 49 and the Miccosukee Service Plaza. It is this road where the White-tailed Kite had been seen and reported to eBird by Steven Kaplan, Nick DeCesare, Mark Berney, Nancy Price and David Hall prior to my visit in early April. David Hall's photography of the White-tailed Kites from 3 April is nothing less than extraordinary.


The Eastern Meadowlark above (image 2) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Cattle Egret above (image 3) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Brown Thrasher above (image 4) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

Patches of fog burned off quickly after sunrise. My primary observation point (looking west) was at the tank structures on the east side of Snake Road less than a few miles from Alligator Alley. The facility handles petroleum crude oil as indicated by the Department of Transportation warning on the trucks that came and went from the site.


The Tree Swallow above (image 5) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Barn Swallow above (image 6) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Red-shouldered Hawk with prey above (image 7) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Wood Stork above (image 8) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

There had previously been speculation as to what the tanks contain. This landmark is on the opposite side of the road where the White-tailed Kites had most recently been reported. There was a significant amount of other traffic on the highway that made the environment less than ideal for observations. I was surprised by the number of vehicles passing at a much higher speed than the limit.


The Wood Stork above (image 9) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Brown Thrasher above (image 10) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Black-crowned Night-Heron above (image 11) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Black-crowned Night-Heron above (image 12) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

A pair of Swallow-tailed Kites made a flyover from west to east very late in the morning. Earlier a Northern Harrier was observed soaring at a great distance to the west. Its photograph is diagnostic. There were a number of bird calls heard that I could not identify which otherwise would have been helpful in creating a more accurate list for the morning beyond the 30 species seen.


The Eastern Meadowlark with Red-winged Blackbird above (image 13) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Eastern Meadowlark above (image 14) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Anhinga above (image 15) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Wood Stork above (image 16) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

It was rewarding to find that Eastern Meadowlark is dominant over Red-winged Blackbird. Image #2 reminds me why I will never use the lens extender again (last time, I promise). I drove as far as the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation before heading back home to yet again have White-tailed Kites elude me.


The Great Egret above (image 17) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Wood Stork above (image 18) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Swallow-tailed Kite above (image 19) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Turkey Vulture above (image 20) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

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The Swallow-tailed Kite above (image 21) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

6 comments:

  1. Loved # 13 ...incredible picture!
    Thanks Bob!
    Adele

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  2. Loved the Brown Thrasher and the Swallow-tailed Kites, Bob! Didn't realize that the White-tailed Kite, that I've only ever observed in California, can be observed in S. Florida....

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    1. The Brown Thrasher was singing during much of the morning. I have observed the White-tailed Kite near Lucky Hammock several times. The species has also been observed somewhat recently along Miami Canal Road. Check the Great Florida Birding Trail website for other areas in Florida where the White-tailed Kite may be observed.

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  3. Hello Bob,
    Great series of images! Photo 13 is stunning ;-)) Also favorite is the black-crowned night-heron. I hope to see my first this year in Greece.
    Greetings,
    Maria

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    1. Thank you, Maria. Good luck in your search for the night-heron.

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