Saturday, April 30, 2011

Consolation Prize

South Florida has had some amazing luck this past month. Just two weeks ago, a Fork-tailed Flycatcher made an appearance in Ft. Lauderdale. We made a valiant effort for it the very next morning, but ended up disappointed, along with the dozen other eager twitchers.

When Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in our hometown, Boca Raton, made an appearance on PEEPS earlier this week, announcing the arrival of a La Sagra's Flycatcher, all we could do was cross our fingers and hope that it would stick around until the weekend. With confirmed sightings as recent as yesterday, we felt reasonably sure about our chances when we woke up bright and early this morning and headed out. After two hours, we decided to call it quits (another dip!), but not before crossing paths with a different lifer altogether, a Black-whiskered Vireo.

These Florida specialties breed in mangrove trees during their summer residence, which Gumbo Limbo has lots of. We were were busy watching a female American Redstart when the vireo called out from the top of a gumbo limbo tree. It gave decent views for a minute or so before leaving us, but returned an hour later to the very same spot. 

Also present was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Northern Parula, and this mystery warbler, below. The slightly decurved bill and heavy black streaking on the flanks seem to peg it as either a female or first-winter male Cape May. It also had a hint of yellow at the center of its breast. If anybody else has any thoughts, please share!

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