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Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival
Dry Tortugas Tour
September 28, 2008

I lead 17 birders on a nice day trip to the Dry Tortugas, we had smooth seas and good birds.  On the ride over we saw a few Brown Boobies, all were adults.  A sea turtle was seen probably Loggerhead and a few distant migrating ducks, mostly likely Blue-winged Teal.  As we arrived at the fort we checked the south coaling docks to see dozens of Sandwich Terns and many Royal Terns.  There were also many Black-bellied Plovers, we tried hard to find an American Golden Plover with out success.  Once we got on shore of Garden Key, where the fabulous Fort Jefferson is located, we started to look for migrants.  We ended up finding a total 60-species as well as 16-species of Warbler, it was a great trip and many people got lifers.  There was a pair of Whimbrels in the parade ground feeding allowing us great looks.  We had hoped for some lingering Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies but could not find any.  A total list of birds that were seen below.

Masked Booby 4-birds, a low number the population is over 75 birds
Brown Booby many adults on just about every channel marker
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Magnificent Frigatebird
American Bittern the first one I have seen here in the last 15-years
Least Bittern sitting in the top of a Gumbo Limbo tree looking a little out of place
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon we saw 13 perched birds
Common Moorhen a very uncommon migrant
Black-bellied Plover
Ruddy Turnstone
Short-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Belted Kingfisher
Eastern Wood Pewee about four birds many of them singing
Gray Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Purple Martin a few of these still moving through
Barn Swallow many
Swainson's Thrush
Northern Mockingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo

Warblers seen:

Tennessee Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler not too uncommon in the fall

We also had:

Scarlet Tanager
Blue Grosbeak
Clay-colored Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

Blue Grosbeak with a Clay-colored Sparrow.

Blue Grosbeak in a Geiger Tree, the tree was named after Captain Geiger a friend of Audubon's.  Captain Geiger was a Key West native who was a successful wrecker.

Least Bittern in the top of a Gumbo Limbo tree looking a little out of place.

I was hoping for a rarity which is very possible in the fall but we did not find any.  It was still an excellent trip to see so many birds in such a short amount of time.  I will look forward to next year's festival:


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