The first person to guess correctly will receive a drawing of this type of bird by me. It won't be good but it's all I got! I am trying to talk Liam into creating the prize but he is reluctant at the moment. Maybe on the next one..
We decided a quick trip to Key Largo via Miami would be worthwhile. We wanted to get Smooth-billed Ani and were sure to get a couple South Florida birds we hadn't seen yet. This trip we decided to take Gannon(9), my other son, along with us. It seemed like a good idea, and it was..... for the most part.
Gannon and Liam were excited to find a Coconut!
Our start was a trip that would put us at MIA at about 11:30pm. When we got on the plane in Atlanta for our second leg to Miami we sat on the runway for an extra 45min waiting for 1, ONE connecting passenger from another flight. As it turns out many other flights arrived late to Miami that night and the rental car place was a nightmare. Gannon was feeling bad with an ear ache and crying out loud for most of the hour and a half we waited for a car. Finally we got on the road headed towards our hotel in Key Largo. About 20min in Gannon reenacted the Exorcist movie and projectile vomited all over the inside of the rental car. He was in the backseat and the dash was covered! Bienvenido a Miami! We got to our room at about 4am and an early start for the Ani was lost. We started the next day in Key Largo looking for a Smooth-billed Ani reported at a local park with no luck but found a couple other cool new birds like White-crowned Pigeon and a Black-whiskered Vireo which I would have expected to be gone. That night we heard a reliable Ani had been being seen up in Key Biscayne for the last few days but we couldn't get there in time and had to stay another day to try in the morning.
The next day we got a quick look as it dove into the scrub thanks to Gannon! We had been looking for some time with no luck. As we sat idle in the last reported location for it to show up, Gannon said, and I quote, "There's the bird!" I looked where he was pointing and saw a cardinal. As I said "that's just a cardinal Gannon" I saw the Ani a few feet in front of it and it shot into the brush. We never saw it again. After a trek to the top of the Key Biscayne lighthouse and a fun swim in the ocean we went back to the parking lot where the Ani was and tried to get a better look and a photo. It was 11:30 and we didn't see it. We heard later that it sat up nicely at the edge of the parking lot at 11:45! We had left for the Everglades and a chance at Snail Kite which we found!
I got nothing but terrible pictures of birds this trip! The blurry Snail Kite pic above is the best I could manage. I think I will post a bunch of cryptic blurry photos in the next post to see if we can get some fun i.d. guesses!