A couple of weeks ago, a sighting at Eastern Neck NWR over on the Eastern Shore caused a bit of a stir on the MDOsprey birding discussion list. The bird was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, a rarity in much of the United States, with the exception of a very few states where it breeds in the summer. People were driving over to Eastern Neck from all over the state to see this bird, and frantic messages kept appearing on the list asking for updates on when the bird was last seen. Not being one to drop everything and drive many miles for a rare bird sighting, I enjoyed the excitement vicariously through the list and didn’t think much more about it after the uproar finally settled down. Fast forward to this past Saturday when I was down in rural north Texas at Em Ell’s mom’s family reunion. I’m sitting there chowing down on some vegan “chicken” salad under a tent in the 90+ degree heat, when I look out over the grass and see a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher doing a rendition of its “sky dance”!!! As soon as is politely possible, I sneak over for some closer looks. Unfortunately I did not have my bins so had to make do with the naked eye. There was a pair of them perched on the barbed wire fence, taking turns shooting up into the breeze to scarf down some bugs. I suspect they were a male and female, based on the sky dance routine, but can’t say for sure. One of the photos shows what looks to me to be a male on the fence (based on the longer tail, as compared with photos of females). I took some lame photos with my not-made-for-photographing-birds camera. If you click on them and enlarge, you can see the birds a little better. I hadn’t checked the bird’s range when I saw the posts on MDOsprey, but as it turns out, this flycatcher is a yard bird in Texas, as well as in Oklahoma to the north, where it is the state bird. The bird also breeds in a few other bordering states. To me, this is one of the coolest things about birding. In one state a bird can be a total rarity, and yet fairly common in another state. This makes even casual birding while traveling often an exciting time!
Posted by birds fly on June 9, 2009