I'm going to tell you a story about a little gray flycatcher that made history.
The journey was rough, but it was an important one for many birders. For some time, birders across the US have been waiting for the arrival(or discovery) of the Pine Flycatcher in the United States.
Dave spent a couple days with the experts and went over the calls making sure it was really truly the first ever US record of a Pine Flycatcher.
|The Range map for this bird|
|After the relentless heat, this shaded oasis with a breeze made me want to hang out the entire day! But I knew the heat would continue to rise and we had to get out of there before it would become intolerable. Heat stroke is real.|
|The 10 foot water tank told us that we had reached our marker.|
A small group of birders met together in almost a religious style ceremony. It struck me that we all made this sacred pilgrimage for a historic bird. There is something very special about the treks we do. And it cannot be put into words. We watched this amazing flycatcher hop and spin around the trees as if it were a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
It was a wonderful group of people who were all very respectful of the bird's space. Together we observed it collect nesting material.
|A Gila Woodpecker tells everyone to keep it down out there! The babies were trying to sleep!|
There were other gray birds there like the very vocal Plumbeous Vireo below.
We collected data on the bird and made careful observations for ebird and the ABA Bird Record's Committee. I need to get an app to record audio. Instead I've been using my video part on the camera. I felt like a real tool asking everyone to stay still and quiet while I took a 20 second snippet of the bird calling. It was important because these birds can only be ID'd by their calls sometimes. However, I can say that the behavior on this flycatcher was rather distinct from the other similar looking flycatchers that I have observed. If approved, this flycatcher will be an exciting addition for those who list with ABA as it will become "legit". For me, it was an amazing life bird.
The Flycatcher group is not an easy one, but with practice and study, they are a snap to ID. For beginning birders, I recommend meeting up with an experienced birder and learn how to distinguish the various behaviors by observation since most of these empids look similar. For example, Gray Flycatcher pumps the tail downward. The Dusky Flycatcher pumps the tail up. The Hammond's Flycatcher has ADD as it constantly flicks and ticks:)
And yes, the life bird list keeps slowly inching up. The Pine Flycatcher makes life bird 716. Will I make it to 800 by the end of the year? Who knows? But I will tell you that the work behind each bird has increased. Every new addition has a cost both personal and financial. I'm just glad most of us have spouses who understand our addiction to this lifetime of ours. The desert is getting too hot and that means it's time to cool down elsewhere. Las Aventuras: Home continues.