I had company all weekend, didn't have email access, and had a funeral to go to this morning--perfect timing for a rare bird to show up! When I got in to work today I found out about a Fork-tailed Flycatcher seen yesterday about half an hour away from my office. Finally, after the funeral, I took off with Paul Green to chase this nemesis bird along the Delaware River in Morrisville (photo: Adrian Binns).
Nine years ago, when my first daughter was a month old, I took her on her first chase...a three hour drive from Dallas to look for two Fork-tailed Flycatchers at Hornsby Bend in Austin. I missed them by a couple hours. Then, last year after I moved from Austin, another Fork-tailed Flycatcher stayed at Hornsby Bend for over a month. These South American birds often don't stay long, and it isn't uncommon to chase, and miss, Fork-tailed Flycatchers when they do show up.
Today was my lucky day. We got to the parking area near the river and could see birders up on the dike. We got there just in time to see it fly off through the trees. Ten minutes later, we found it again and got to watch it for over half an hour as it flew around at eye-level eating bugs off the leaves and branches of several trees. The bird is a first-year bird, with a short-worn tail and brownish flight feathers. A bit ratty looking, but a joy to see after all these years of waiting and missing it in Texas. This bird is apparently the first one to be found in Pennsylvania, so its a really good bird.
Neil Hayward Gunning for ABA Big Year Record
10 hours ago