Big Pine Key / Marathon 2021.05.30

My friend @scottsimmons and I decided to take a biotour of the Florida Keys. This series of journal posts chronicles the expedition.

7:30AM Blue Hole and Jack Watson Trail

Scott had been told that a vagrant Black-Faced Grassquit had been hanging out at a street corner just outside of Blue Hole. Naturally, we needed to see it. A patient wait yielded ... nothing. That is, no Grassquit. However, we did see

Florida Duskywing
Cassius Blue
Fulvous Hairstreak
Zebra Longwing
Large Orange Sulphur
A large white -- are they all Great Southern this time of year?
And a Faithful Beauty moth, which fooled me into thinking it was a Florida Purplewing for a bit.

One of the more unusual sight / sounds was a Red-Bellied Woodpecker vigorously attacking a metal power pole!

The adjacent Jack Watson and Fred Manillo trails advertise themselves as a site for Bartram's Scrub-Hairstreak, but we found none. It was likely too early, so only Florida Duskywings were out.

9:30 AM Bahaia Honda State Park

This is the reputed site to find Miami Blue and Nickerbean (Acacia) Blue. It also advertises itself as a location for Bartram's SH.

Honestly, it was a bit of a disappointment. We saw Cassius Blue, Large Orange Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, a White, and Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak ... and that was it. Much of the park is still under post-hurricane repairs, so that might be the issue.

11:15 AM Fred Manillo Trail

Back to Big Pine Key to hunt in earnest for Bartram's SH. Nope. And ... though there were a couple of look-alike plants, I didn't see any of its hostplant Pineland Croton.

We did however see our first White Peacock of the week, and finally got good shots of a Large Orange Sulphur that set down in a palm during a bit of cloud cover.

Lunch at Islamorada yielded lots of chickens and a Common Myna.

2:30PM Monroe County Government Building, Marathon

This is a reputed site for Roseate Tern. I had pictured something like a building with a little walk down to the beach to see Terns and shorebirds. It was nothing like that. Terns have taken up residence on top of the building, where apparently the gravel is good for nesting. So we drove up, waited for ROTE to fly off the building, and took pictures. It was definitely one of the more surreal birding experiences I've had!

4PM Curry Hammock State Park

The entrance to this park has several Seven-Year Apple trees, which turn out to be the only reliable attractor for Large Orange Sulphur that we could find. It also drew in at least one Hammock Skipper. Kayaking was not possible for us, so we stayed to trails and the Nature Trail a couple of miles up the road.

Leps seen:

Cassius Blue
Julia Longwing
Southern Broken-Dash
Mangrove Skipper
Gulf Fritillary
Large Orange Sulphur
Monk Skipper
White Checkered-Skipper

Gray Kingbird
Prairie Warbler -- the call was unmistakable
Northern Cardinal
Great Crested Flycatcher
Red-Bellied Woodpecker

After this we had an evening with Scott's relatives and called it a night.

See the whole gallery from 2021.05.30 here (Scott) and here (me).

Publicado por jrcagle jrcagle, 14 de junio de 2021

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