Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ash-throated Flycatcher in Brooklyn

Last Sunday, an Ash-throated Flycatcher was found in a vacant lot in Queens.   The Ash-throated Flycatcher is a fairly common bird of the western United States that is annual in New York, with some years seeing multiple birds.  This individual, however, certainly has chosen the most unusual location of any of the other vagrants, to a level of the polluted mudflat behind a homeless camp selected by 2007's Western Reef-heron.  A overgrown parcel in between an abandoned garage and a construction company, one wouldn't expect to see any birds, let alone such a rare one.  However, it apparently is finding the location adequate, as it has stayed there for the past 4 days.

Last night I convinced my Dad to drive me out to Brooklyn before Thankgiving dinner.  We arrived at the site at 7:00, before anything could be seen with the overcast sky.  We took a few drives around the block, and found a Chipping Sparrow in a nearby lawn.  However, at 7:30, we spied some movement in the original lot.  Once I got my binoculars on it a small gray Myiarchus sp. flycatcher revealed itself.  Bingo.  Ash-throateds can be separated from the more common Great-crested Flycatcher by the (unsuprisngly) overall ashy and drab color, smaller size, and more uniformly brown retrices, especially at the tips.  We were provided with great views, but as I got the bird in the sight of my camera, the battery died.  So no photos were taken, but great views were had for around 10 minutes.

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