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All--

In honor and emulation of Jeff Bouton--and benefiting from his tips--I had
a two-Spindalis day this past Sunday the 30th.  For me, this represented a
new taxon and a new sex for this species.  The (Cuban) male was again in
the ficus to the left of the little foot bridge leading to the pool in
Indigenous Park, Key West, actively feeding and only occasionally calling
for about an hour from dawn until a little past 8:00 AM.  The female was
where she had been previously reported some weeks ago: in the strip of
woods in the median area of the parking lot for Nature Trail in Long Key
State Park.  She was flocking with a couple of Cardinals and a 2Y
Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  When I arrived at Long Key, a little past noon,
after a leisurely morning of meditative looking here and there, there was
naturally very bird activity.  I saw one Cardinal, but the Catbirds and a
couple of Yellow-rumpeds were about it--until about 2:00, when the grosbeak
started calling and flying about.  At this point the Cardinals started
calling as well and the female Spindalis became fairly easy to locate.  A
park ranger told me that the bird was last reported a couple of weeks prior.

A logistic word for the unwary: the gates at Indigenous Park are not open
on weekends!  I was told telephonically by Cynthia, who works at the park,
that one can enter on weekends via the bird rescue(?) facility whose
entrance is just a few yards north, but that this doesn't open until about
8:30 or 9:00.  Cynthia, who is birder-friendly and who seems to understand
the nature of our obsession, gave me the impression that anyone with
binoculars would not be considered a trespasser, but this strikes me as an
extremely dark gray area, with respect to the ABA Code of Ethics.  She put
me in touch, informally, though with a semi-resident of the park who is
also a keeper of the keys, and who agreed to unlock the gate.  This worked,
and I was of course very grateful for this assistance.  I mention this
logistic issue because I was surprised to learn that a park would be closed
on weekends.  Probably most Floridians who want to see this bird have made
the trip already, and maybe you are all aware of this schedule, but for
other out-of-state lurkers like myself, I wanted to offer this alert.  If
you google Indigenous Park Key West, you will find an image of the sign,
with a phone number and the hours.  After my initial shock, I called the
phone number and eventually talked with Cynthia, with improved prospects
for seeing this stunning bird.  (She was lovely too.)

--Macklin Smith
(usually lurking, but temporarily subscribed so I could report
this)


Macklin Smith
Department of English
University of Michigan

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