Monday, November 18, 2013

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - in Philly

One of the things about the Big Year is that I hear about all of the rare birds in the area via Internet, text, email and phone calls. The other thing about the contest is that when you get a rare bird, you think WOW.  And then it's weird when another one shows up. When a third one shows up, you start to be blase about it. OK, the fourth time it shows I start to wonder how "rare" it really is.  The bird that I'm talking about is usually found in Texas in open field habitat. It has been seen 3 times in NJ and this weekend in Philadelphia.  Philadelphia as in a very urban area. Bartram's Gardens is located in southwest Philly along the Schulkyll river. The gardens are pinned in by row houses and train tracks but it does have an open field that is pretty perfect for flycatchers. 

I took the opportunity to shoot a few photos before a hockey game. At first, I couldn't locate the bird or any other birders for that matter. A few guys showed up with scopes and we went into the woods where the bird was reported. I think there were too many kids and dogs and joggers around the field for the bird to hang around. I decided to go into the field anyway and wait for the bird to return. I made the right choice. I stood quietly near a few bushes in the middle of the field and viola - the bird showed up.  WOW! What a sight. The extra long tail is enough to make this bird special but the salmon flanks puts it over the top.
 
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
 Here it is flying. Check out that tail!

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
The hockey team lost 2-0 but they played great. 
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