Thursday, November 18, 2010
Yesterday our friend Tina Green discovered Connecticut’s third Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Cove Island Park in Stamford. It is the first of the species that birders have been able to chase. Suffice it to say, this caused as much of a scene as the White-tailed Kite. Birders from all over Connecticut and neighboring states flocked to the spot as soon as they could. I was able to go see it for about 75 minutes this morning.
I was lucky on this one, as the flycatcher was close and in the open when I arrived. At least 30 birders were watching and photographing it while it perched near the park’s bird feeders. It appears to be a first-year bird based on the tail length and bit of brown on the wing coverts. While I admired it and chatted with others, it flew to several different trees. Watching it fly is certainly a fantastic sight. We were lucky enough to have it go mere feet over our heads a few times. I also saw it hawking and subsequently eating a few large insects. Thankfully, food does not seem to be a problem for it now, and the weather should not be too harsh until perhaps after Thanksgiving.
One of the oddest observations I had involved a Song Sparrow. It hopped onto some branches near the Fork-tailed Flycatcher when it returned to the feeder area. For some reason the Song stared at it like the birders were. It seemed to be perplexed as to what it was looking at. I do not want to call the behavior “mobbing” but it approached the flycatcher in a similar way. It came close to whacking into it, curious and almost perturbed with what it saw. Who knows what the Song Sparrow thought it was – a shrike, maybe? I do not think I have ever seen a bird look at another and have no clue what it was. It was a unique experience for all parties. Thanks and congratulations to Tina, and I definitely recommend the trip if you can find the time.
Photo and video © Scott Kruitbosch
Posted by Scott Kruitbosch at 4:29 PM