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Florida – Day 4

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Jan 27, 2016 | by Greg Miller

Day 4 of Florida Big Year tour with Wildside Nature Tours. Pouring rain. Soggy. Drenched. But happy. We birded the southeast portion of the State from Delray Beach to Hollywood. Normally it is hard to park in the small lot at the amazing wetland, Wakodahatchee. But it was raining hard enough that we had the whole parking lot to ourselves–and the boardwalk as well. Yes, we did the whole loop as the sky dumped buckets of rain on us. The birds were hunkered down. Even cormorants had their heads tucked and ducks were under trees.

I did not have a single square inch on me that was dry. In fact my pants got so wet that water just ran into my waterproof hiking boots. Not only do the boots keep water out, but they are equally good at keeping water in. Tonight I have everything laid out to dry. My boots? I don’t give them much hope of drying. I may see people faint tomorrow as I walk by. The boots will have the scent level set to P-U-N-G-E-N-T. It is the kind of smell attained in the tropics that causes monkeys to fall out of the trees as I walk past them.

Highlights today included Gray-headed Swamphen (also called Purple Swamphen), Purple Gallinule, Neotropic Cormorant, Burrowing Owl, Spot-breasted Oriole, and Western Spindalis (formerly Stripe-headed Tanager). We tallied 74 species of birds today in an all-day rain bringing our Florida trip total to 138. The Big Year total is now at 270 species. Yay!

Tomorrow we will get an early start. 5:00am. Yep. We are headed to the Fort Myers area to look for Mangrove Cuckoo and American Flamingo…in the rain…again. It will be fun. Every day outside beats a day in cubicle.

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