Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher! - 02 May 2012

Yesterday morning Nate Crawford found a male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) at Lower Huron Metropark in western Wayne Co.  He alerted Kevin Arnold and Paul Cypher, who reported that the bird was providing great looks for the better part of the day.  It disappeared in the afternoon, but was refound later in the evening.

This morning the bird was refound in the Woods Creek picnic area.  That was enough to convince me to duck away from work for a couple of hours to look for it.  At ~10 am I arrived at the north entrance to Lower Huron and drove the main road to the Woods Creek picnic area.  There I found Dea Armstrong and Bruce McCulloch, and a few others.  Bruce had seen the bird briefly, but it hadn't been seen for quite a while.  I walked around a bit looking for it, but had no luck. Tom Schlack arrived, and we chatted a bit.

With no flycatcher sightings at the south entrance, I turned around and headed back north. I drove by the Woods Creek picnic area and saw folks still milling around.  I then drove north past the Tulip Tree picnic area, which had just been mowed.  Surprisingly, I spotted the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher perched atop a short tree just next to the road. 

I quickly grabbed the phone to alert Dea and the others, but when I looked up it was already gone!  I then drove back to the parking area and drove around to look for it.  No luck.  Leaving the area for the main road I again spotted the bird toward the north end of the meadow, where it was now perched in another tree.  Grabbing the scope I ran over and managed to get some digiscoped images before it flew south to another tree.

It perched for a short while as others were just arriving, but quickly flew south over the woods just as folks got their binoculars and cameras on it.  I was going to leave, but decided to drive back to Woods Creek.  There, it was perched on the wooden railing alongside the road and just feet from a dozen cars.

Everyone was enjoying wonderful looks at the bird, which would make short flycatching trips out over the grass and return to its perch.  I managed to pull over and get the scope on it for a few pics before it flew to a short snag a few feet farther in from the road.

I had to wait for six police vehicles to drive by before I could run over to the fence to digiscope it from about 60'.  The bird provided gorgeous views in the morning light.  With skies threatening with rain, the lighting was perfect for capturing the salmon-colored hues on its flanks.  Stunning bird!

It then flew to a taller tree for a few moments before flying farther south.  At that point I decided I had captured enough keeper images to head back to work! 


Drew said...

Wow Jerry, gorgeous shots!

Drew said...

Wow Jerry, gorgeous shots!