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Hi Folks,

This morning I led a Tampa Audubon Society field trip to Honeymoon Island. At
around noon, towards the end of the walk I located a Western Tanager which we
had superb views of (including scope views down to 40 feet) for about 10
minutes. To get to where the bird was found take the Osprey Trail north from
the parking lot for a couple of hundred yards then take the first trail to
the left. In a hundred yards this trail reaches a "T" intersection. Go right
(north) here and keep going until the trail crosses a very sandy area. Just
after this you will see an area of dead Slash Pines on the left and a small
post with an orange and white top in the vegetation to the left of the trail.
The bird was seen in the trees imediately around this post.

I'm fairly certain that this bird was a first year male based on the
following characters. The head was fairly bright yellow with just a tinge of
greenish on the crown and no red whatsoever, thus ruling out a basic plumaged
adult male. The whole underparts were a bright lemon yellow as was the rump
which contrasted noticeably with the mantle which was a dull grayish green.
Pyle states that such yellow headed birds showing an obvious contrast between
the rump and mantle are first year males. The wings were a dull grayish brown
with two very prominent wingbars. The lower of these (on the greater coverts)
was a distinct buffish white and longer and slightly narrower than the upper
wing bar. The upper wing bar (on the median coverts) was shorter and thicker
and very obviously bright yellow. the tail was a dark grayish brown and very
slightly forked. The bill was a dull orange with a dark culmen. The bird was
not heard calling. It was last seen in a cabbage palm on the right (east)
side of the trail just a few yards north of the orange and white stick.

Also seen on Honeymoon today were a Nashville Warbler (first 100 yards of
Osprey Trail) , Cliff Swallow (over Bird Observation Area) and a juvenile
Pectoral Sandpiper at the Bird Observation Area. All these species are
relatively scarce on Honeymoon. We also saw 3 Snowy Plovers at the Pet Beach
and a Great Horned Owl on the Osprey Trail.

Ed Kwater
Brandon, FL
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