U.S. Highway 41, the Tamiami Trail, crosses the Big Cypress National Preserve and the Everglades as it runs from Napes to Miami. I spent all afternoon on Thursday listening to 30 minute nature programs on the Everglades Radio Network while searching this area for Limpkins, Snail Kites and other interesting Florida birds. It’s a sad day when Wood Storks and Swallow-tailed Kites (check out this USFWS photo, its such a cool bird!) just aren’t good enough—but it was a bit frustrating to search all the known locations and come up short on Snail Kites and Limpkins. The afternoon did produce some cool reptile sightings—including a glass lizard, American alligators (hundreds), and huge female soft-shelled turtle crossing the road.
For over an hour before dusk, I drove back and forth on Hwy 41 near the Muscogee General Store looking for the Snail Kite roost. Again, nothing. With only a couple of days to try and blitz the birds of Florida, and many cool birds not yet back from winter haunts to the south, I know I’ll have to come back if I want to see these birds in the U.S., but its frustrating to search and search and come up short.
By the end of the day, I was camping in Homestead south of Miami with over 400 miles on the car and only having seen one of my target birds. Note to self—next time you go to Florida, spend more time birding and less time driving!