Florida Keys – Turkey Vulture, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, …

   HMS York arrived off Key West very early in the morning on the 13th June, so early in fact that we had chance to watch the sunrise as we sailed into the naval base.  As we sailed in we had numerous Least and a few Common Terns out hunting for breakfast.  Brown Pelicans and Magnificent Frigatebirds were also to be seen.

Key West sunrise – 13 Jun 11

   Once work was over I headed to the airport and picked up a hire car and headed up the Keys.  I had not driven for a few months and I was on the right side of the road so I took it easy for the first few hours.  Over the first evening and following morning, I picked up the commoner birds of the Keys.  Double-crested Cormorants were perched on every bridge.  Grackles, Cardinals and Red-winged Blackbirds were in every patch of scrub.  I popped in quickly to the Blue Hole on Big Pine Key before finding a motel for the evening.

Northern Cardinal, Big Pine Key – 14 Jun 11

Red-winged Blackbird, Florida – 14 Jun 11

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Big Pine Key – 16 Jun 11

   Turkey Vultures were pretty much a constant overhead and a couple of Ospreys perched nearby were a bonus.  One problem soon encountered was steamed up optics.  Either when leaving the air-conditioned motel room or the hire car and stepping out into 90 degree heat with high humidity caused the camera and bins to fog.  The only solution was to drive around with the windows open as I did some early mornings.  It was never an option to turn off the chiller in the motel room!! 

Turkey Vulture, Key Largo – 14 Jun 11

Osprey, Big Pine Key – 14 Jun 11

Steve Copsey

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