WOW! FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, 5/7/16

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~Wow, what a bird! Fork-tailed Flycatcher in flight at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, 5/7/16.~

Linda Scrima, Maria Loukeris, and I decided last minute to forego birding locally for migrating warblers to run for the FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER which had been reported at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Trenton, NJ. What a great decision it was! Some days are luckier than others, and today was a lucky day. After a long drive, we found Assunpink WMA easily enough, and then took the trail to the dam where the bird had been reported. At the dam, we saw approximately 20 birders, and we knew the bird was present. We watched and photographed the bird as it fed just below the dam, giving us great looks. I was blown away by this bird, what an incredible creature, whose normal range is from Mexico to South America. I am thinking that this bird is likely a juvenile or a female bird because the adult male has a tail that is much longer. I am leaning towards juvenile because its yellow crown stripe seems to be undeveloped. This has to rank as the easiest/best bird I’ve ever run any distance for, what a super bird! The FTFL was a life bird for all three of us, and it brought my life list total to 360. That number would increase again momentarily as we explored Assunpink WMA…

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~Love the posture on the bird in this photo. Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Assunpink WMA, 5/7/16.~
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~FTFL, Assunpink WMA, 5/7/16.~

… and heard an unfamiliar call. It took a little while, but we eventually tracked down the bird, it was a WHITE-EYED VIREO! And my 361st life bird! What a day, but it wasn’t over yet…

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~A bonus life bird! White-eyed Vireo at Assunpink WMA, 5/7/16.~

…we had one more pleasant surprise when we stopped by The Great Swamp on our way home and had a SANDHILL CRANE fly over! Great day of birding!

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~We heard this bird well before we saw it; I could not put my finger on the call but of course knew the bird easily once it came into view. Sandhill Crane at the Great Swamp, 5/7/16.~ 

4 thoughts on “WOW! FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, 5/7/16”

    1. Thanks Bruce. That was some bird, right? I would have loved some better light, but hard to complain on such a great day. Matt

  1. We may have seen two of these birds today at the Gunk Grasslands Refuge, quite a bit of short chase flights, perching on stakes, landing in the grasses. Very distinct black/white, some tail bobbing. At one point we briefly considered Eastern Phoebe, due to the tail waving but ruled it out due to the distinct black/white. Also considered tree swallows, but as there were only two birds and very little swooping flight we ruled him out too. Once I saw your pics on here, I said that’s the bird. Your pics are great!

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