South Florida Birding, 12/3/2016

Western Spindalis
Earlier this month a friend and I chased a Thick-billed Vireo in South Florida at Bill Baggs State Park in Miami. We were enticed by the possibility of both seeing that bird and seeing a Western Spindalis as well. Both birds had been seen within 50 feet or so of each other. So we made the four-hour trek down to Miami and staked out both birds. The Western Spindalis was the first to show herself. The Thick-billed Vireo showed up around 11am. We all had some pretty good looks at it, even though it was only for a few seconds, before it took off into the woods again. Unfortunately, it appears that sighting was the last time anyone saw it there. It seems to have moved on.

Thick-billed Vireo
From there we decided to check out a few other rarities. We chased a Western Tanager at Miami-Dade College. We missed that bird, but we had a flyover Cave Swallow, which was a lifer for me. We then headed down to Castello Hammock Park to look for a Buff-bellied Hummingbird. There were two of them there hanging out with both Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. We missed the Rufous, but we had really good looks at the Buff-bellied. It even posed for photos.

Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
As a bonus, I was also able to photograph a young iguana and my first ever Great Pondhawk.

Great Pondhawk
All in all, it was a great day. We got home before midnight and I added 4 year birds, three of which were lifers--Thick-billed Vireo, Cave Swallow and Buff-bellied Hummingbird. Not a bad way to spend the day.