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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Visitor from the west

This afternoon I received a call from Shane. He seemed rushed and asked how long it would take me to get ready to drive to Long Island. He had just spoken with Shai who had found a Say's Phoebe at Robert Moses State Park. I have only seen this species of flycatcher on trips to Arizona. It would make a nice addition to an already stellar year of birding. Needless to say, Sean, Shane and I were out at the beach as quick as humanly possible.

As one would expect, the bird chose the highest point in the landscape from which to launch insect-catching forays. In this case it was a "Keep off the dunes" sign. There was a strong onshore wind and I was surprised the little bird could remain perched. Eastern Phoebes usually make short sallies from a perch then return with their prey. Conversely, the Say's Phoebe we were watching today was flying a fairly long distance to intercept moths, bees, dragonflies and whatever else was in the area.

Say's Phoebe at Robert Moses State Park (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

-Click here for more info on Say's Phoebes-


Pamela said...

Out by the snake river there are 100's of Western Wood-pewee's and I love to sit in the campground and watch them dart this way and that... and hear the snapping sound they make

I wonder if the phoebe does that same thing??

Rob J. said...

The Eastern Phoebes hawk for insects the same way. I am not that familiar with Say's Phoebe (for obvious reasons) but was surprise at how far he would fly to intersect a bug. Maybe the strong wind off of the ocean forced him to adjust his normal trajectory.

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