Friday 11 October 2013

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher!!

Yesterday morning, during lectures I learned that a flycatcher was discovered in Torbay (just outside of St. John's). It was initially identified as a Western Kingbird. An exciting find, but considering that they're almost annual in the province, I wasn't too rushed to go see it.

Just after lunch, unbeknownst to me (I was busy studying cadavers at school...), it was re-identified as a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (STFL)!
STFL is a huge rarity on the island, with only 1 previous record, that no birders were able to see. I knew that this was going to be one of those once in a life time opportunities to see this species in the province.

Long story short, I was there this morning ready to enjoy this amazing rarity.

Thankfully it put on a good show, in time for me to get to school for Friday lectures.

In this photo below the brown and tattered primaries are noticeable. In the field it was clear that the tertials looked crisp and fresh, and some of the flight feathers (secondaries) were also fresh, which contrasted with the brown and tattered outer primaries and inner secondaries. Obviously, this bird is in the middle of a molt cycle, indicating that it is an adult (juveniles grow out their flight feathers in the nest, or just after fledging, and keep those feathers until the Spring). The fact that it's molting explains why it doesn't have the long ornamental tail feathers typically associated with this species. They will grow in with time!