Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dusky-capped Flycatcher at Pedernales Falls SP

We went to Pedernales Falls SP this afternoon in search of a reported Dusky-capped Flycatcher. The Travis Audubon Society Rare Bird alert had first reported a sighting Oct. 25, and the most recent sighting was yesterday. The range maps in our bird guides show this species only in South East Arizona, the Davis Mountains, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and then only in summer. Seeing one in Central Texas in November would indeed be a rare sight.

We stayed at the bird blind from 13:30 to 17:00 and got our best view of the likely bird around 14:30. We also heard the quiet, plaintive, falling peee-uur call that would be consistent with this species, though not at the same time as we saw the bird. We observed the bird in the low trees between the gate and the newer of the two bird blinds as well as from inside the blind itself. We gathered our notes and pictures to compare against the bird guides.

The pictures below show two key field marks that support this as a Dusky-capped Flycatcher rather than one of the other similar Myiarchus sp. common in this area. First, note the strong rusty edges on the tail feathers and, importantly, the lack of rufous color on the underside of these tail feathers. In addition, note the edges of the secondaries in the second picture. These are clearly rufous edges rather than the white edges seen on the other species.

Canon 60D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, ISO-800, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, Flash

Canon 60D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, ISO-800, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, Flash

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