We had a brilliant morning at Crandon Park, Biscayne Key, Florida where we had been invited by one to the scientists working there Rangel Diaz.
|Miami skyline from the bridge to Key Biscayne|
|Our hosts, Jim King, Dapne Rodriguez, Rangel Diaz & Robin Diaz.|
|When they said all terrain vehicle...|
|Elis photographing the plover flock|
|Mixed flock of Semipalmated and Piping Plovers|
A number of the birds were colour ringed and we will do a blog on them when we get back and have more time, but one of them stood out. This was a male Piping Plover that has been named 'Rocky', we will be receiving the full story on why this bird is called Rocky from Robin and when we do we'll tell you the tale, we think you'll like it, we did!
|Rocky and a Western Sandpiper|
|Obviously the interview was a serious business|
I mentioned during the discussions we were having that all along both coasts of the USA there were many projects and conservation units, many run by volunteers and how impressive that is. They told me that there was a bit of a gap in these projects and that was along the south-east coast of Florida. They thought that this was largely due to the culture of the local population, being majority Hispanic. Also like the UK the average age of birders is going up all the time, there just doesn't seem to be the inflow of young people who will take on the conservation projects in the future, and this is worrying. So it is then that Cranford Park is bucking the trend with Rangel and Daphne and we understand the other scientists on the team, they are all young Hispanics and as such are tremendous ambassadors, and it can only be hoped that these young, vibrant and attractive people will make birding and conservation sexy among their peers.
|In the nature centre discussing culture and birder demography.|
In addition to all this wonderful wader watching (we stayed a very long time admiring these birds enjoying their close proximity), we were also tempted away to chase a rarity, just couldn't resist it, it went by the exotic name of Western Spindalis, which to me is better known as a Stripe-headed Tanager. Now I would fall foul of local customs and have to pay a forfeit if I were to say that unfortunately this bird it was just a female, so I should point out that we were very lucky indeed that it was a magnificent female. Full story on the Rick Simpson Birding blog. www.rick-simpson.com.
We were thrilled and humbled to receive from Robin and a couple called Bill and Nancy, that we met at the spindalis, cash donations for the spoonie project. This money will be added as an off-line donation.
|Bill and Nancy|
|Once again the Florida Keys will have to wait for another visit.|