I had an impromptu bird walk yesterday. After reading about a rare vagrant bird being spotted at nearby Matheson Hammock Park, I thought about going to look for it, since it was reported to be close to the Fairchild visitor center. It’s a rather small, plain looking bird, the La Sagra’s flycatcher (Myiarchus sagrae), but one sought after by birders since it is rarely seen in South Florida, usually content to stay put in its native Cuba, Bahamas, and Grand Cayman.
I was doubting my ability to find it; I can spot things on the ground easily, but staring up at a tree for a tiny bird whose job is to eat and move on without being eaten, it just makes my eyes ache thinking about it. However, I encountered expert birder and birding leader Larry Manfredi near Fairchild’s South Florida Butterfly Garden. He and I ventured right outside Fairchild’s doors and found the rare bird. I have to admit, I would never have spotted it on my own. Never.
It was part of a feeding flock, or feeding aggregation (there is a difference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed-species_foraging_flock), along with the quite similar great crested flycatcher, black and white warblers, an amazing and huge pileated woodpecker, vireos, and other regulars. Amazing!
If you want to learn a lot more about birding, particularly in South Florida, check out Larry’s website at http://southfloridabirding.com/