My impromptu Florida trip started with that gorgeous Flamingo and got better when I headed across the state to Key Biscayne in hopes of seeing two rare birds that were reported at Crandon State Park. One of the birds is pretty rare in the US - Thick-billed Vireo. I arrived at the park at 7:30 AM and found the bird immediately. It was sitting in the bushes along the path to the Nature Center. Honestly, this is one of those birds that could easily be overlooked as just another White-eyed Vireo until you hear the song and look closely at the bird. Here is a photo of the Thick-billed Vireo.
Now compare with a photo of White-eyed Vireo taken on the same day at the same park.
Tough right? You can notice a split eye ring and thicker bill on the Thick-billed Vireo but that is about it. The second rare bird is easier to identify but proved more difficult to find at the park. I looked and looked. Other birders showed up and searched too. Finally, I found the bird moving along in the trees with some other birds. Yay! Female Western Spindalis.
By 10 AM, I had found the 2 rare birds and headed back across the state feeling pretty satisfied with the trip. Of course some of the fun of birding is "bragging" about it to my friends. I sent the photos above to some friends. Later that evening, Steve emailed back asking if I had also seen the Bananaquit. What Bananaquit? I quickly looked online and read that a Bananaquit had been seen at the same park at 2:30 in the afternoon. THE SAME PARK where I was on THE SAME DAY. AAARRRGGGGHHHH! I could have let that ruin a perfectly good day but I didn't. Bananaquits, like the Spindalis, show up in Florida almost every winter. I'll have another chance to see one. Right? Please say yes. . . . #noregrets.