This will be a brief post. I write this shortly after getting home from Florida, my four-year old just fell asleep, and I am soon to follow him to dream-land. Though, considering how many good birds I saw at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, you could say that I just left dream-land behind for the cold and snow-covered northeast. I saw or heard a total 0f 147 species in my six days in Florida, including two lifers and one new bird for the ABA-area. I also managed to take a ton of pictures which will be shared on this blog for years to come.

But before we get into that I would like to review the five goals I made before I left for Space Coast and see how I did. Could I have had a perfect trip? Let’s take a few moments and see…

The first of my goals was to see two introduced exotic species, the Nanday Parakeet and the Budgerigar. I tried for both of these species on the Gulf Coast of Florida on the day I arrived before the festival started and managed to get one of the two. While Budgerigar eluded me I did get great looks at a pair of Nanday Parakeets and even observed some interesting behavior which I will delve into in a future blog post. So, just one goal into my list of five and I already have managed only partial credit. This isn’t looking good.

Nanday Parakeets

Nanday Parakeets getting cozy on a wire (Click to make it bigger.)

My second goal was to show lots of good birds to lots of birders. This was easy. Not only did the participants on my four field trips see lots of birds but I also was out in the field a lot, birding and meeting other birders, and I can’t help but to show people birds when I see them. One example was this Snail Kite that I pointed out to a pair of appreciative birders on the shore of Lake Kissimmee.

Snail Kite

Snail Kite (Click to embiggen.)

My third goal was to eat lots of seafood at Dixie Crossroads. Mission accomplished! Two-and-a-half out of three now!

My fourth goal was to lobby Jeff Gordon, also known as El Jefferino, also known as the President of the American Birding Association, to make Green Heron the Bird of the Year in a future year. Does this man look like he has been lobbied? Clearly the answer is yes. Three-and-a-half out of four!

Jeff Gordon

Lobbied, pestered, really, what’s the difference? I just made sure not to stand too close to any alligators when my back was to Jeff by the time I was done going through the many virtues that Green Herons possess.

Finally, the most important goal of the trip for me – seeing or hearing a Black Rail. I HEARD TWO OF THEM AND GREAT AUDUBON’S GHOST IT WAS FREAKING AWESOME!!!! So awesome that it counts as one-and-a-half out of one which brings me to a perfect five out of five! A perfect week! What more could I possibly ask for?

Oh, that’s right, a Budgerigar


The sunset on the day I finally heard Black Rail. It was magnificent.

10,000 Birds is a Scrub Jay level sponsor of the 17th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.