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Sunday, 20 January 2019

USA, Big Cypress National Preserve, Day 10

Black-and-White Warbler were all over the shop along the the loop trail off Highway 41 at Big Cypress National Park

  Cracking day yesterday! I teamed up Lara, one of the Workaways that I'm working with in the Everglades, and in her 4x4 we made the hour drive to the Everglades National Park, Sharks Valley. On the way we stopped off at one of the many camping grounds along Highway 41. If you didn't know, that sociopath in office, has forced a government shutdown. The longest time in history that it has been shutdown and now into it's forth week, forcing 800,000 federal employees out of work until the shutdown comes to an end! It's all to do with trying to cut funds back to build that wall on the Mexican border that the sociopath so desperately wants. He tweeted 'Everybody knows that the wall will work perfectly (In Israel the Wall works 99.9%)' Lara told me (she cannot stand Trump) the Democrats are also to blame as they have the majority in the US House of Representatives and could open the government up again. .At the same time it's a ploy by Trump and even Republicans are blaming Trump. As a result of the shutdown, all National Parks across the US are free. including camping. as only volunteers manage the parks and have no authority over charging you to visit or stay.

  We parked up at the campground and immediately I started phishing and from out of the woodwork, warblers appeared from nowhere in good numbers including, Yellow-throated, Prairie, Yellow-rumped, Pine and Palm Warbler. Also moving through with them were Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, House Wren and Grey Catbird. Returning to the wagon there were Great-crested Flycatcher and Eastern Phoebe.

Yellow-throated Warbler


Pine Warbler

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Downy Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Eastern Phoebe 

This is the sign that greeted us as we entered the campsite

Followed by my first ever Alligator

 We arrived at Shark Valley at mid-day and after fifthteen minutes we decided to try somewhere else as it was so hot and as a result nothing was moving. In the carpark there were Yellow-throated and Palm, Prairie Warbler and White-eyed Vireo. 

Anhinga are lined up along the rivers

Green Heron

Palm Warbler

White-eyed Vireo

This Osprey was preening in someone's front garden (Top left of image)

  We turned off Highway 41 and took a loop trail. A few miles in and we came to a bridge crossing a river and got out to have a brief look around. That brief look turned out to be over an hour as the area was so productive. Already present were White Ibis, Night, Great Blue, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Belted Kingfisher and Yellow-rumped Warbler.   Again I did some phishing and out came a Northern Parula followed by White-eyed Vireo, Tufted Titmouse, Northern waterthrush and a Black-and-White Warbler. We found out later that the two latter species were most numerous. More phishing and more birds including, Yellowthroat and a stonking male American Redstart. 

Belted Kingfisher

White Ibis

Little Blue Heron

Altogether we saw 10+Night Heron

We saw up to 15+Black-and-White Warbler next to the road

White-eyed Vireo

It was so good to see this cracking male American Redstart as I've only seen females in Costa Rica before

Lara spotted this Cottonmouth Snake next to where we parked the car Thanks to Bobby 'Dazzler' Dawson for the identification 

This is the habitat where the ibis, egrets, herons and passerines hung out that we observed. 

  We moved further down road and pulled over to see what I could attract with a bit of phishing. You never know what's goin to pop up in front of you when you phish but I had no idea that after a minute of making the squeaky sound from my lips on my hand that a Boreal Owl would fly in and land out in the open in front of us!! It showed superbly only meters away until it was flushed by a passing car. However, instead of flying away, it flew low directly in our direction to land on a branch just behind us. Here we left it alone coming away with 'Did that just happen?'
  About five mile up road I did that squeaky sound again and would you it, another Boreal Owl came out and landed mid way up a tree just above us!

Barred Owl number 1

The owl was on the left of the pic

Barred Owl number 2

We finished the day off in the evening light with the only Wood Stork of the trip so far

Hardkandy was formed in Brighton, and was initially Simon Little and Tim Bidwell, who in the heady atmosphere of the the summer 2002, released their critically lauded debut album “How Do You Do Nothing”, pulling in love on the remix tip from Aspects and The Bees (who did their first ever remix for Hardkandy!). After arguably being the highlight of the Big Chill that year with their ten piece band they scurried back into the studio where Tim took the production reigns whilst Si concentrated on his new career as a session keys player for the likes of local glitterati Bonobo and the Quantic Soul Orchestra.
Tim, in the long process of creation, recruited friends and family, to try and better Hardkandy’s impressive debut long player, eventually recording with local vocalist Sean Clarke, Russ Porter (Limp Twins), Lo Fi Allstars, Will Quantic and legendary folk prophet Terry Callier (Terry was so impressed he recruited Tim to write for him! – the resulting track, “Stripper”, was released on his own album in the Autumn of 2004).
The end result is the sophomore album Last To Leave, (released 20/02/06); an heartfelt journey encompassing modern soul, gospel, broken folk. With the change of sound came the re-worked Hardkandy band – a fully fledged and noisy 5 piece already making waves locally supporting Emiliana Torrini at Brighton’s Speigeltent, and Morcheeba at Shepherds Bush Empire, with Sean Clarke’s powerful vocal presence leading the charge. Major support tours are in the pipeline and with the live band redefining Tim’s unique production sound expect the new album “Last To Leave” to sound harder, faster and dirtier..

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