Rare bird spotted by a Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve volunteer.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH– The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve documented a sighting of the Variegated Flycatcher bird (Empidonomus varius) Wednesday afternoon, June 5 near the Reserve’s Guana Dam, the first such viewing of the bird in Florida and less than five times in the United States.
Research shows the Variegated Flycatcher has never been seen before in Floridaand less than 10 times in North America. The bird was spotted by volunteer Diane Reed and was last seen around 8 p.m. Wednesday night near the Reserve’s day-use bath house in between the Reserve’s Environmental Education Center and the Guana Dam. Reed reports that the bird was spotted above the dam dumpster on a power line.
This sighting is an American Birding Association Code 5, making it a very rare occurrence. Code 5 sightings indicate that the bird is an accidental to the area and has been reported less than five times in the ABA Area. The ABA area covers North America, north of Mexico. According to the Audubon Society, the Variegated Flycatcher’s range extends to Northern South America, east of the Andes. One subspecies of the flycatcher is a long-distance migrant, which occasionally seems to migrate past its usual range.
The GTM Research Reserve encompasses more than 74,000 acres in northeast Florida. Guana Dam is open 7 days a week from 4 a.m. – 11 p.m. Please note there is an admission fee of $3 per vehicle (up to 8people).To read the full press release that went out statewide on Wednesday (June 6, 2013), click here: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLDEP/bulletins/7e3261.