Friday 21 September 2012

Crandon Park Gardens, Miami, Sept 2012

A couple of my colleagues had come to meet me during a visit to Key Biscayne. We met at Crandon Park and took a turn around the gardens there at Google Earth ref; 25°42'16.35"N 80° 9'23.63"W. A few exotics were in residence, including Indian Peafowl and Egyptian Geese. The provenance of the Sandhill Cranes is linked to a well-meaning bird fancier and rehabilitator which must also put the Cackling Goose in doubt.

The gardens were very quiet with no other visitors and the birds were quite approachable. White Ibis are used to being fed in the park I suspect and watched us carefully in case we dropped any titbits. Rumours of crocodiles encouraged us to leave a healthy distance between us and the banks of the water bodies in the gardens. A juvenile Little Blue Heron, unaware of the warnings, but possibly acting from experience, watched the water’s edge from the safety of the rail.

Tricoloured Heron also stayed back a little from the very edge. These are Florida birds and may have had this behaviour ingrained into them through a long line of ancestors for whom hunting close to the margins held a very real danger.
Close to the gate, an Anhinga dried its outstretched wings. Just above it, a nest held a very chick, still being sheltered by the other parent. Other Anhinga offspring seen this morning were much further advanced and out of the nest.

In a less-visited part of the gardens are some ornamental crocodiles, possibly put there to make nervous visitors jump as they come around the corner. They are quite realistic until you get close, but this Yellow-crowned Night Heron didn’t waste any attention on them.

The gardens give the impression that they may once have been a zoo or somesuch and there are plans afoot to bring a petting zoo to the site. A bus stop at the entrance to the car park services the B bus which runs between Brickell Metro Rail Station (Google Earth ref; 25°45'51.50"N 80°11'43.20"W) and Key Biscayne. A taxi takes around 10 minutes and costs around US$15-20.

Birds seen; 18
Pied-billed Grebe 2, Magnificent Frigatebird 2, Double-crested Cormorant 6, Anhinga 5, Brown Pelican 4, Great Egret 1, Little Blue Heron 1, Tricoloured Heron 1, Green Heron 1, Yellow-crowned Night Heron 2, White Ibis 40, Black Vulture 6, Cooper’s Hawk 1, Purple Gallinule 2, Common Gallinule 6, Belted Kingfisher 2, Northern Mockingbird 2, European Starling 20.

I have seen the light as far as general and vague trip lists are concerned. eBird likes to have pin-pointy submissions, so I am splitting the day up into different sections as preferred by Cornell. This outing started at Virginia Key, and continued on to BearCut Reserve, Crandon Park Gardens and Crandon Park Beach. As I have made a separate eBird submissions for each, I shall post separate trip summaries too. I will make links above as the other posts are published to join them all together.

 Visit the dedicated USA and Canada Page for more posts from Miami including Matheson Hammock, and Crandon Park.

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