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#ABArare – Western Spindalis – Florida

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A female Western Spindalis (Code 3) was found on Virginia Key (southeast of Miami and just north of Key Biscayne), Florida on Nov 28 by Larry Manfredi. He found it at the end of Arthur Lamb Jr. Road. It was feeding on the fruit of a Brazilian pepper tree. It then flew north into denser trees where it was found later that afternoon. Since then, it has been seen on both Nov 29 and 30 — sometimes very closely — around the original location, which has been marked with bright green/yellow flagging tape.

ABArare Western Spindalis Manfredi Nov 2012photo by Lary Manfredi

To get there from Miami, take the Rickenbacker Causeway (State Road 913) towards Key Biscayne ($1.50 toll). Continue on to Virginia Key. Across from the Miami Seaquarium, turn left on Arthur Lamb Jr. Road ($5 toll). Go past Jimbo’s. There will be a sewage treatment plant on your left. Park near the bike trail signs. Take the dirt trail north through a gate in a chain link fence, then walk west on the “wrong way” trail. The sewage treatment path will be on your left. Go a quarter-mile or less until you see the flagging hanging on a Brazilian pepper tree. Robin Diaz created a map to show all the location it has been seen the past three days.

It helps to be familiar with the Spindalis’s call note, described as a high-pitched “tsee” by National Geographic’s Field Guide to the Birds of North America and “see” by The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. You can find recordings online at Xeno-Canto.

If you go, be aware that bicyclists will be out there. Be careful, and don’t block the trails.

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John Puschock

John Puschock

John Puschock reports ABA rare bird alerts and manages #ABArare for the American Birding Association. John is a frequent participant in rare bird forums around the web and has knack for gathering details necessary to relocate birds. He has been a birder since 1984 and now leads tours for Bird Treks, as well as for his own company Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has led tours to locations across North America, from Newfoundland to New Mexico and from Costa Rica to Alaska. He specializes in leading tours to Adak in the Aleutian Islands.
John Puschock

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