Day 19 – 14 March – Bahia Honda, some last birding and sunset

The weather has continued to improve; the wind is dropping and it’s pretty warm in sheltered places. Just what we flew all this way for, really. Anna wanted some time on Bahia Honda but I needed to catch up with the LBJs that the wind had kept in the undergrowth. I dropped her off at the beach and headed for Long Beach Road on Big Pine. It was quiet, pleasant and rewarding.

Birders have some funny ways about them – actually, some of them are really weird but that’s for another time and when the laws of libel are more relaxed. One of the funny things we do is called ‘pishing’. It’s a noise you make that is onomatopoeic and, with mixed success, attracts small songbirds as it apparently sounds like a distress call and causes them to investigate. Someone has even published a book covering its subtleties. It will sometimes have spectacular results when it might seem that there were no birds nearby – I’ve had birds of six or seven species suddenly appear in previously unoccupied woodland. On other occasions simply nothing happens. For me, today, it worked and I never cease to be thrilled by the attention of a White-eyed Vireo or Black-and white Warbler that has come to within inches to investigate the sound. Long Beach Road has changed over the years. The development has remained about the same but the ravages of several hurricanes have resulted in the loss of some big trees and changes to the beach itself. It still has a significant growth of mangroves at the end and some is protected as part of the Key Deer Refuge so the birding, though limited, is always rewarding. It was worrying, though, to see that my favourite area down at the end of the road had new utilities installed and I wondered if it would still be accessible next time I visited.

OK, upward and onward. Or westward, to be correct. The sun was shining, the weather was warmer and Spring break was thinning out so a sunset at Mallory Square beckoned. A quick shower and sandwich, top down, Keyzee on the radio and we were cruisin’. Key West was, as expected, a little quieter as the raucous and sunburned element was on the way home to Mum and Dad, yellow school buses and American history. We took up our usual position on the deck, margarita in hand, while the boats sailed past and Skimmers loped towards their roosts. The sunset did what it was supposed to do and, at last, we were rewarded with a green flash. It doesn’t show on the pic though.


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