Yesterday afternoon, local Miami birder, Angel Abreu discovered a Thick-billed Vireo at the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park! There have been less than 10 sightings of this West Indian vagrant in Florida. Lucky for me, I am down in southern Florida right now and was able to shoot over to the state park earlier today and found the bird right where Angel had seen it the day before. The lighting was harsh and the bird was not sitting still much, but I was able to take the following photos. Angel took some recordings of the bird calling yesterday and I was able to get some recordings of the bird singing today. For more information about Thick-billed Vireo records in Florida, check out this link from the ABA.
Here is more info about the current Thick-billed Vireo, straight from Angel Abreu:
Mariel and I found a Thick-billed Vireo at Bill Baggs Cape FL State Park this afternoon (3/3)! The bird was very responsive to our slow scold pish and gave us wonderful, prolonged looks several times throughout the afternoon. We will post its location but will warn ALL birders and photographers that the bird was found at the edge of a restricted area. That being said, please be respectful and DO NOT walk beyond this gate. In times past birders/photographers have walked beyond gates and into restricted areas and have been found by park staff. If park police (FWC) catches you in a restricted area you could be given a trespassing citation that can prevent you from entering the park in the future as well as be escorted out of the park. So please use your best birder etiquette when trying to view this bird.
Location: The bird was last seen right next to the white gate that reads (No Trespassing – Restricted Area) on the south side (left) as you drive to the No Name Harbor parking lot. Park in this lot and walk back to the white gate which will now be on your right, do not park on the side of the road. When you arrive at the white gate listen for the bird which was frequenting the saw palmetto along both sides of the restricted road. A slow pish works great and mimics the Thick-billed Vireo slow scold call. We were able to record the bird vocalizing and sent this recording to Larry Manfredi who confirmed that the bird indeed was a Thick-billed Vireo.
The use of tapes at Bill Baggs Cape FL is discouraged and this bird was easily called out by our slow pish. We had no trouble getting the bird to come out for looks without the use recordings. Be patient and please do not go into the restricted area so that other birders behind you will be able view this bird as well.