#ABArare - Western Spindalis - Florida
On Sunday April 8, Bonnie Ponwith discovered a female Western Spindalis (Code 3) at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Spindalis was in a mixed warbler flock foraging along the nature trail between markers 10 and 11 around 11:30 AM.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (open 8 AM; entrance fee) is located about 4 miles NNE of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as the Fish Crow flies. (While Fish Crow is Code 1 and not "ABA rare", I hope you don't mind me mentioning it in this post.) To get to the park from the airport, you can drive east to Highway 1 or west to I-95. In either case, drive north to SR 838/Sunrise Blvd and turn right (east). If you chose to take I-95, you will get off at Exit 29-A. If coming south on I-95, it is Exit 29.
Continue straight on Sunrise Blvd to the entrance of the park, which will be on the left. Note that Highway 1 briefly unites with SR 838 and then splits off to the north. Do not follow Highway 1 beyond this split. If you miss the entrance to the park, you will hit A1A...and then the Atlantic Ocean if you fail to turn or stop.
After entering the park, take the one-way road to the north end. The road will make a sharp bend to the left and then you will see a parking lot. Park here and walk back to the bend in the road. The nature trail begins on the right.
Check the Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) Bird Board for updates. This site is usually better than the statewide email groups for getting news on sightings in the southeast part of the state. Also check out the TAS site for other birding locations in the Ft. Lauderdale area. South Florida is entering prime birding time, as migrants are passing through and regional specialities such as Gray Kingbird and Black-whiskered Vireo will be returning within the next week or so.
UPDATE: The Spindalis was not refound on April 9.