Actually, I’m presently in my beloved study at my home, jet-lagged, but glad to be home for a couple of days. Long flights! I was looking at the heaven-sent Dark-billed Cuckoo yesterday morning at Delray West Park north of Ft Lauderdale Florida, and a Shiny Cowbird at some rice storage place an hour later, then frustrating myself with three hours of searching noisy, chaotic Markham Park for Spot-breasted Orioles. I later followed the eBird coordinates to find myself in a tree, overhanging a canal, peering across the water into a ritzy back yard, where a Spot-breasted Oriole had been regularly reported by the homeowner. I didn’t get busted, but then, I didn’t get the bird either. Had closeup views of awesome iguana.
Here’s what I wrote on the plane earlier. My flights began in Ft Lauderdale, and ended in Sydney 24 hours later:
I was planning on a day at sea on Saturday Feb 9, but the Hatteras weather had other ideas, with high winds dictating that the ‘reserve’ day – Sunday, was the go. Unfortunately, Sunday was my designated get-to-LA day with an 11PM onward flight to Sydney, so hopes of Great Skuas, Dovekies, and other Atlantic seabirds would be dashed – at least for a week. There was a silver lining to the story though, in that I could make a quick run down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a shot at the red-hot Dark-billed Cuckoo – a new species (well, almost new) for the ABA area, native to South America, found serendipitously by a local birder and initially thought to be a Mangrove Cuckoo.
The cuckoo, in its third day of attracting big crowds of birders from all over the country appeared on cue, and the gallery was more than pleased. I met up with a whole bunch of the regular suspects, including James Clements, Larry Peavler and Jim Defoe – for which the cuckoo represented his 800th species. I apparently missed Dick and Gaylee Dean by a very few minutes. After Larry Manfredi emailed to ask how we could possibly have missed each other, I looked at my ‘crowd’ shots, and there was Larry! Damn.
Will be heading back back to the US, and Hatteras, NC, for a double-header pelagic trip in a couple of days.