So a regional eBird reviewer in Oregon just sent me a note:
We are asking for additional details on the following observation:
Species: Cordilleran Flycatcher
Observation date: Sep 17, 1982
Location: Malheur NWR--Headquarters, Harney, US-OR
Submission ID: S3092545
Hmmm. Good question. I submitted this record when I entered my North American life list. So this is a record from my very first Cordilleran Flycatcher when I was 14 years old.
Back then, there was no such thing as Cordilleran Flycatcher--just Western Flycatcher. So this would have been the very first Western Flycatcher I ever saw. I have it on my life list spreadsheet as being seen 9-17-82 at Malhuer NWR. I remember that weekend trip with my dad and sister--I had lobbied heavy for months for him to drive us the seven hours one way from Portland so I could do some birding there. But I don't remember seeing this bird. Just part of the murky early birding past.
But it gets even murkier. When I went back to see what kind of records I might have on this bird I found this in my old Golden Guide, where I kept track of my life birds back in the day:
Western Flycatcher 9-17-83
Note the different year. Hmmm.
Then when I go back to a written version of my life list that I compiled in 1984, I have the following listed:
Western Flycatcher 9-17-83 Oaks Bottom, Multnomah Co
Did I mess up the year of the observation when I wrote it down in my Golden Guide (unlikely)? How did I go from seeing a Western Flycatcher on 9-17-83 in Portland to seeing a Cordilleran Flycatcher 9-17-82 on the other side of the state?
I have no idea.
Fortunately I've seen many Cordilleran Flycatchers (and Pacific-slope Flycatchers, the other part of the old Western Flycatcher species) since the early 80s. But I may never really know now when I first saw either one!
So much for old records!
(Photo: Jerry Friedman/Wikipedia)