Thursday, December 27, 2012

Two tyranids from out of town

Ed Corey spotted a Say's Phoebe this morning while covering his territory for the Pettigrew Christmas Bird Count.
Say's Phoebe - Washington County
 Luckily Kyle Kittelberger and I were already on our way there to do some birding around Lake Phelps en route to the Outer Banks and were able to refind it easily.
Say's Phoebe
This is only the 10th record of this western flycatcher for North Carolina (and a lifer for me!).  Ed seems to have especially good luck finding vagrant flycatchers.

After scoping a nice assortment of ducks, included a few Common Mergansers, on the lake we drove over to the "Park Office."  While Ed Corey and Kyle were fiddling with gear at their trucks I wandered down toward the water with my scope.

An odd low chup sound coming from the flooded wood edge caught my attention.  A Hermit Thrush perhaps?  But it didn't sound quite right for that...
Ash-throated Flycatcher
 ...and then I realized a Myiarchus flycatcher was staring me right in the face!
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Several years ago this was considered a Mega-rarity in NC, but they have become more regular recently (in fact this is the fourth Ash-throated found in NC this season!).  There are probably 25 to 30 state records, but this might be the first for Washington County.  I saw my first on the causeway at Lake Mattamuskeet.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
Kyle played some tapes and the call I heard sounded like his tapes from the Utah population (and not the Texas population).

It was a great day for flycatchers from out west; now we just need to find a Western Kingbird!


  1. Nice work Scott. Finding the there is little else in the world to compete with that rush, that high from seeing a rare bird.

    Now, we have dozens of these flycatchers in Arizona. Next spring I'll trade you for some Black-billed Cuckoos.

    1. Just send us a Western Kingbird...I'm sure there was one around someplace that day, but we just couldn't find it!

      It will be interesting to see if John Fussell hears cuckoos in the Croatan this spring

  2. Scott, this was at least the second report from Washington County. I had found one at the Sparrow Fields in December 2011.

    Ed C

    1. Thanks Ed! Yeah, I was going by Ali's NC county bird lists on Harry LeGrandes website (which is why I used the phrase 'might be' since these lists are often missing records).