While we were waiting for the maintenance guys to prepare the walls to paint we had a few days to play. We checked the So. Florida rare bird alert and saw there was a Western Spindalis at a park in Key Biscayne so we headed up to see if we could find it. We got there and walked around the area described and found almost nothing but iguanas until
we came upon a couple from Ottawa who were also looking for the bird. He was quite a talker and seems to fly all over when he hears of a new bird. He said he’d tried to find this bird 4 times, so far unsuccessfully. There were lots of warblers in the tree that he said was the one it had been seen in before but alas no Spindalis. We did walk over to a beach and found lots of shore birds, many of which didn’t seem to mind people and let us get fairly close.
We went to another area that had some exotic birds that had obviously been introduced.
And of course we had plenty of our old Vulture friends, both Turkey and Black and the Florida chicken (as some refer to the White Ibis).
After hours of looking we gave up and went to another park that this guy said had parrots. We found a wedding and lots of very loud (salsa) music—but no parrots. The neighborhoods we drove through were quite amazing with huge beautiful houses on acres of landscaped land. Nixon had a house there when he was president.
The next day we decided to go all the way to Flamingo in the Everglades. From the visitors center area we could see Crocodiles and Alligators. This is one of the few places that both Crocodiles and Alligators live together. There were also Manatees in the water in the marina. We tried to go for a bird walk at Eco Pond but the mosquitoes were too fierce there and along the Snake Bight trail. We walked around Eco Pond managing to take these pictures very quickly and only made it a short way on Snake Bight.
Snake Bight Trail
We did manage to see about 35 birds in areas that were more tolerable.
One more day off and we went to the Keys. Did a little birding looking for another Spindalis reported but no luck there either. We did find a great little cafe for lunch with fresh fish, conch and shrimp. We’ll definitely go back there.
The next day I started painting. There is apparently quite a controversy going on with the management and some of the regular residents here about the fitness center. The residents don’t want to lose their indoor air-conditioned place to work out and here I am painting walls in it for it to be a food and clothing pantry. They even posted a sign on the door asking for comments if you don’t want to lose the fitness center. According to what management tells me they are going to build a new gym and won’t have the pantry until that’s done but people are not convinced so they are asking for a meeting. Anyway, here I am painting these walls and it feels pretty weird when people come in who are obviously opposed to losing their workout space.
This is for the clothing area.
This is for the food area
Anyway, I worked for 4 days and finished the murals yesterday. I did quit early on Valentine’s Day to go out to a lovely dinner with my valentine. We even found this funky ice cream place in the Mexican part of town for dessert.
Yesterday afternoon we took a picnic lunch to Biscayne Bay NP and walked the boardwalk to the jetty. Lots of folks out fishing off the boardwalk.
Then we drove out to the airport where we had heard there are Burrowing Owls and found three! Unfortunately they were too far away to photograph and we needed a scope to see them well. Did see some nice Eastern Meadowlarks though.
Our grandson, Sam, arrives next Wednesday for our last week in Homestead. We hope to show him lots of fun things in the area.
N & D