02 January 2010

Couch's Kingbirds in Waco

This morning around 9 am, Matt found two VERY bright yellow birds flycatching on the north side of the Brazos; here's the first photo I was able to get.

...it's the blurry speck in the middle of the frame, I promise. From this distance, Matt and I ruled out Ash-throated Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Western Kingbird and hearing a rolling "breer," we almost narrowed them to Great-crested Flycatcher. We still hoped for Kiskadee or Social Flycatcher with that amount of yellow, but our ears still heard "breer" and the birds didn't cooperate. Such is the miracle of pulling out the scope and having the birds vanish.

We drove around to the MLK side - the birds had been foraging out on branches above the river - but one had vanished completely and the other had moved up between the pavilion and the road. The rest of the photos are digi-binocular-ed from that spot. These are not in chronological order; the better shots are larger.

From the above photos, the bird is clearly not a Great-crested Flycatcher. In fact, I had nearly sworn off on the bird even existing because the only critter in the tree visible was a starling (amazing mimics, those starlings). Thankfully the kingbird flew out from behind the trunk and cooperated for a little while. It constantly called a bubbly trill and we completely forgot to feel bad that it wasn't a Tropical Kingbird. Sad, how birding the RGV conditions birders to immediately scorn and move along from Couch's because they're not Tropical ;-)

After the thumbs were taken, the bird flew across the road and across the culvert - presumably where the other bird had already smartly wandered to avoid the pesky birders in hot pursuit. The shot below is from the Brazos side, looking towards the pavilion where the birds were initially seen. It's fair game from there to the culvert/water retention pond.

...thankfully we're off the hook for any other writeup birds for this count =) I'll try to get the rest of the count list posted sometime after work tomorrow.

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