I visited the Florida Keys on Monday and Tuesday of this week and Sanibel on Wednesday.
I got up at dawn and drove all over Big Pine Key. Visited the Blue Hole and saw a white-crowned pigeon, but beyond that, the only bird sounds I heard were common grackles. I took Watson Blvd out to No Name Key and the landscape sounded devoid of birds other than redwing blackbirds and northern cardinals. Later on, I visited Blue Hole again and discovered a nesting Green Heron, and then I tried the Watson and Manillo trails up the street, and again, it was just quiet. Saw mostly black vultures.
I left the lower Keys feeling underwhelmed and disappointed and stopped at Crane Point on Marathon but that was even worse. Saw two green iguanas. Heard no birds anywhere except, again, RWBBs.
Ding Darling was very low activity except for Yellow Crown Night Herons. Hardly anything along the wildlife drive. Nothing to be seen from the big observation tower. I was getting desperate, so I put on a rain jacket and a mosquito headnet and I took two laps around the Calusa Mound trail. I found a noisy group of about a half dozen Great Crested Flycatchers. I visited the Bailey tract and saw a single pair Black Neck Stilts. I went back to Ding later on and visited the Indigo trail and saw several Yellow Crown Night Heron nests with nestlings, but then it started storming.
Is June the wrong time of year to go looking for birds in South Florida? I drove all the way from Tallahassee, and I kept having the feeling that there is more and louder passerine bird activity in my apartment complex's parking lot and at the local city park where i go jogging. I was expecting an explosion of different species and huge numbers. I came home feeling like I should've driven someplace north instead of south. I also wondered if I was suffering the effects of having no Rangers and other interpretive staff [because of the pandemic] to guide me along and tell me what to watch for. Really wanted to go to Corkscrew, but it's still closed.