I saw the report of the Key West Quail-Dove just before leaving home on Thursday for the Audubon Assembly. I looked up the location and saw that it was just 10 miles south of the Marriott where the Assembly was to be held. I arrived at the Lantana Nature Preserve about 15:30 and began looking. Of course there were others there with the same idea. I was glad to run into Carl Edwards since I hadn’t seen him for several years. Carl had gotten several shots of the bird that morning and as usual had a lot of good info about its behavior. He’d also seen a Swanson’s Warbler and we discussed their unique feeding behavior of vibrating their feet in the leaf litter to stimulate movement by prey items. Finally at 17:00 I had to get to the Assembly but in the meantime, while wandering that little oasis of birding habitat, I’d followed a knockout Ovenbird down a trail, seen American Redstarts, a Blue-winged Warbler, a White-eyed Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-White Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler and listened to a Blue Jay do a weak imitation of a Cooper’s Hawk. I hoped the bird would hang around for another day so I’d get another chance for it.
Yesterday started with a field trip to STA 1, hosted by Audubon Everglades and lead by David Simpson. Those of us who’ve birded with Dave before weren’t surprised when he spotted an American Bittern hunkered down in the marsh a hundred yards out and quickly got the bird in the scope. It made a very big impression on a young girl who’d never looked through a scope before. She was very excited to relate the story to us at breakfast this morning. We finished the day with 60+ species (including a very cooperative Peregrine Falcon) and went back to the hotel for the Assembly programs. Debbie Segal rode with me and we left at 17:00 to try again for the Quail-Dove. Carl had told me that on Wednesday the bird had disappeared around 13:00 and returned to feed actively around 17:30. Debbie and I arrived and met David and Tammy McQuade just inside the park. They had been there for a while and took us over to show us the Swanson’s Warbler which had hung around. The bird was doing its vibrating feet action in the leaf litter and paying us no mind at all. I learned that both Debbie and I had seen our life Swanson’s in the campground at Fort Jeff in the Dry Tortugas. We saw Carl again too but never saw the Key west Quail-Dove.
It wouldn’t have been a lifer for me. I’d seen them in Cuba in December, 2014. Our guide lead us to a little open spot in the woods no bigger than my garage. There we watched as Blue-headed Quail-Dove, Gray-fronted Quail-Dove, KeyWest Quail-Dove and Common Ground Dove all fed together. That’s a scene that has stayed with me.
Daytona Beach, FL
To subscribe, unsubscribe or view archives of the brdbrain listserv list,
please visit us on the web at:
To set to no mail send a message: SET BRDBRAIN NOMAIL to
[log in to unmask]
To reinstate mail service after NOMAIL send a message: SET BRDBRAIN MAIL to
[log in to unmask]
Report any problems to the listserv administrator: [log in to unmask]