I was on “daddy duty” this morning, home alone with my two pre-school girls, when I found out that Bruce Mactavish had spotted a “Western Kingbird” flying across the road in Torbay an hour or so earlier. That’s a good bird for Newfoundland (less than annual), and worth looking for. It was cold and windy out, so I knew it might be tough … but the fact that he had also found a “content” Northern Wheatear nearby gave me the motivation to go. Either bird is always nice to see, and the wheatear might cooperate for photos.
The girls headed off to music class with their grandmother at 11:15am, so I took the opportunity to sneak out for an hour or so. As expected, no sign of the “kingbird”, but I readily found the Northern Wheatear in a cemetery where Bruce had described. Light was nice and it was fairly tolerant of me, so I got some nice photos. I spent another 20 minutes looking for the “kingbird”, but no dice. In the meantime, Lancy Cheng joined me in the hunt.
A short while after heading home, I got a text from Lancy that he had seen the “kingbird” near the original location. “Great”, I thought. But I had no car for the next little while and couldn’t go. Oh well …
My mindset changed drastically an hour later (2:30pm) when I got another text saying that Dave Brown had arrived, seen the bird, and re-identified it as a SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER!! This is a mega mega rarity, having only been recorded once in the province (2001) and far out of reach for birders. And it’s a beautiful bird, to boot!!
I was in anguish over the next hour while I hung out at home with the girls and made a few frantic phone calls to get the details. At 3:30pm I was jetting over the road, making record time to Torbay where I found a flock of birders staring at a dogberry (aka mountain ash) tree about 75m away. There it was – sitting quietly but in plain view. SCORE!!! I stayed there for the next two hours, watching and taking (mostly distant) photos as the bird moved around the neighbourhood (a neighbourhood that was likely confused and bemused by the dozen or so people who had descended unannounced on their street with scopes, bins, and cameras).