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Checklist S12427703

 
Location
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic SP, Monroe County, Florida, US ( Map ) ( Hotspot )
Date and Effort
Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:24 AM
Protocol:
Traveling
Party Size:
2
Duration:
1 hour(s), 48 minute(s)
Distance:
0.5 mile(s)
Observers:
Carl Goodrich List , Marshall Iliff
Comments:

Submitted from BirdLog World for iOS, version 1.5.0
Species
31 species (+2 other taxa) total
15
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
4
Eurasian Collared-Dove
4
Mourning Dove
2
Least Sandpiper

on beach

1
Spotted Sandpiper

on beach

1
jaeger sp.

Very distant flying W low to water

3
Bonaparte's Gull

all first-winter birds; two off jetty, one well to right near harbor. Carl Goodrich says he has seen the species in Key West just 3-4 times previously (in 10+ ears of birding here in winter), so the fact that 10+ are present this year is most unusual. Photo of the first one we saw, which was point blank on the beach but had flown off with a Laughing by the time I brought the camera around:

Bonaparte's Gull

75
Laughing Gull
3
Ring-billed Gull
2
Herring Gull
2
Lesser Black-backed Gull

first-winters

15
Royal Tern
10
Sandwich Tern
25
Magnificent Frigatebird

Most were distant

2
Brown Booby

Pair seen well flying East; probably dark below but too distant to be sure; easily identified by rolling arcs, longish tails, bow-winged glides

4
booby sp.

Likely Browns; very distant

45
Double-crested Cormorant
20
Brown Pelican
2
Great Blue Heron (White form)
1
Great Egret
3
Turkey Vulture
3
Osprey
1
Red-bellied Woodpecker
1
Peregrine Falcon

on tower offshore

1
Thick-billed Vireo

***mega; amazing rarity seen flying in from south directly off water, probably a direct arrival from Andros, Bahamas, which is about 250 mi east (and we had strong east winds overnight). A few Thick-billeds live in Cuba, which is closer, but wind direction strongly suggests an arrival from Andros, where Thick-bilelds are much more common. Full account, description, and photos below:

First spotted by Iliff as it was flying about 5-7 ft off the water and heading straight for the point (we were seawatching about 50m E of the base of the jetty from one of the picnic tables). When spotted, I shouted "passerine!" and ran to the thicket at the base of the jetty, focusing on the seagrape closest to the base of the jetty, since I expected the bird to arrive at that closest patch of vegetation. when I arrived, no bird was evident but within 5-10 seconds I saw a bird arrive in the opposite side of the bush. I did not know what to expect, but had the impression of a bird that was larger than a warbler and possibly a sparrow-sized bird. It was initially invisible behind large Sea Grape leaves but then revealed itself and I instantly recognized it as a Thick-billed Vireo (surprising myself somewhat, since I have never seen the species before and have found some photos of White-eyed/Thick-billed to be confusing). The breast feathers were slightly wet on one side, perhaps from dropping down on the sea! I called for Carl who came over to check it out (he had not heard me yell) and I studied the bird as it sat just a few feet off the ground for about a 45 seconds before Carl arrived. As Carl walked up, it seemed to regain some strength and hopped up in shrubs. I was able to get Carl on the motion and I dashed back for our two cameras, which were back on the picnic table. Careful to make sure the bird did not leave the thicket, I dashed back and found that the vireo had climbed to near the top of the shrubs there and was able to take the first couple photos below. In total it stayed in southernmost thicket for about 4 minutes and then worked its way inland through Australian Pines (20 ft up) in company of Palm Warbler. We tracked it and photographed it in terrible light until we lost it, maybe into main hammock.

Relevant field marks included: very large bill for a White-eyed-type vireo, with the bill obviously grayish and with a strong hook on the maxilla. Eye dark brown with only faint contrast with the pupil. Crisp broken whitish eye ring and yellow upper lores created a distinctive face pattern that was unlike White-eyed Vireo. The underparts were washed with yellowish, and not like the white breast with yellow flanks of White-eyed. The head and neck appeared overall olive greenish and lacked the gray neck sides of White-eyed. Bold white wing bars on dull olive wings. The field notes are written 2 Jan 2013 at 6:30 pm, and I did not take detailed field notes at the time, since I instead focused on getting photos.

A tough photo subject, but diagnostic photos with SLR:

Thick-billed Vireo

Thick-billed Vireo

Thick-billed Vireo

Thick-billed Vireo

1
Blue-headed Vireo
4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
5
Gray Catbird
1
Brown Thrasher

*rare; Carl's first for the park and first eBird record for Fort Zach (three prior Key West records in eBird, but none since 2005); Carl said this bird was first found about a month ago by another birder; seen well in first thicket on right after entrance, where I heard it scratching on the ground and was able to get multiple views of it as it hopped and scratched in the leaf litter under the bushes; seen well (not Long-billed) showing pale mandible, yellow eye, rich reddish brown back, long tail, and sharp long streaks on breast. Size a bit larger and bulkier than catbird in same thicket,

1
Northern Mockingbird
2
Northern Parula
12
Palm Warbler (Western)
1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)

in Australian Pines

 

Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify?

Yes