Two days later I was back in Florida,(sounds like someone doing a Big Year, but alas no), where a Wilson's Plover greeted me at Fort De Soto in St Pete.
Next on the trail of Red-whiskered Bulbuls. I had searched for and missed them in 2012, but in 2013 went on a Florida Exotics guided tour with Miami Audubon and after much searching, added them to the Life List. This time, I was determined to drive the Kendall neighborhood on my own and find them for myself. It actually took less than an hour, and no one accused me of spying, when I found not one, but four, flying from wires to trees and back.
Later that day, in my tour of Miami Birding hot spots, I found my first Purple Swamphen, not at the Florida Mall. This time it was in Wakohdahatchee Wetlands, an amazing place to bird. Along with the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, there are lots of new hatchlings, including Anhingas.
After a quick trip back to Toronto, birding in local hot spots, I was once again headed to Florida. It was time for a rematch, a grudge match, even: Me vs Seasickness on the Yankee Freedom to the Dry Tortugas... I had been horribly seasick on that first trip, but now I was armed with a Scopolamine Patch and survived the trip, both ways with my lunch in my stomach and my dignity and sanity in hand.
And it was a day for Lifers, as well. An Audubon's Shearwater on the way there and a Black Noddy seen from the old fort. Birding the Tortugas and the fort is interesting. It is a small space, relatively speaking, so if a rare bird is spotted it doesn't take very long for everyone to converge on the spot. In this case, while many of us were looking at a Wood Thrush in the brush, someone up top had spotted the Noddy and we all, at various speeds, converged on the mid-level of the fort and got a great look at this often tough bird to see amongst the hundreds of Brown Noddys and Sooty Terns. Other good birds were the Masked Boobys on Hospital Key, a Connecticut Warbler as I entered Ford Jefferson and a Black-whiskered Vireo.