#ABArare - Everything - Florida
OK, the title is a bit of an exaggeration, but south Florida has had an onslaught, relatively speaking, of vagrants from the West Indies the past five days. However, several of them have been one-day wonders.
First found was a La Sagra's Flycatcher (Code 3) at Spanish River Park (open to cars only Fri-Mon, with expensive parking fees -- limited free parking is available north of the park on Spanish River Boulevard; walk-in other days) in Boca Raton. Found by Rick Schofield on May 2 at an area the locals refer to as "The Gate", a metal gate at the start of a mulched path that leads to the state police marina on the Intracoastal Waterway. Schofield provides a map here.
The La Sagra's was not refound, but while looking for it on May 4, Larry Manfredi found a Bahama Mockingbird (Code 4) in the same area (detailed directions here). Like the flycatcher, the mockingbird was a one-day wonder.
To get to the park from I-95, take exit 4 (Palmetto Park Road), drive east 3 miles to SR A1A, then turn left and drive north 2 miles to the entrance.
Next up is a Thick-billed Vireo (Code 4) found by Russ Titus at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park on May 7. It was on the nature trail, about halfway along the trail north of the entrance, on the east side of the park. It was about 100 feet north of the bench north of the number 6 marker, usually in a dense six-foot tall thicket on the right side of the trail, but it was also seen perched 10 to 20 feet high in a gumbo limbo tree. Other birders were able to refind the vireo later in the afternoon.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (open 8 AM; entrance fee) was featured in an #ABArare post about a Western Spindalis last month. Here are the directions from that post: located about 4 miles NNE of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport...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.
UPDATE: The vireo was seen again on the morning of May 8.
Last up is another Bahama Mockingbird (Code 4), this one at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (opens 8 am; entrance fee) in Key West. Barbara Horn found it in a large fig tree near the bathrooms just to the east of the Fort on May 7. Click here for a map of the park. The bathrooms are located north of the easternmost parking area.
Other birders looked for the bird later in the day but were unable to refind it.
For updates on all of these birds, check the Tropical Audubon Bird Board.