7 April, 2019

Rare Bird Sighting

On Saturday, March 30, 2019, a Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) was reported at Fancy Creek State Park in Randolph, KS. Basically my back yard. It was brought to my attention by the rare bird alerts from eBird.

Thinking that I had missed my chance at a rare sighting, and slightly upset that I had missed it while I was there, I headed out on Sunday to try and find it.

I had just finished a small photo session with some Eastern Phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) and was moving on to where the Say’s had been seen the day before. Not seeing/hearing anything out of the ordinary, I was about to move on to look for the waterfowl my wife had just told me she had seen.

Just then I heard something fly over me and saw it land in a tree nearby. I pulled up my binoculars, slightly hoping to see a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). When I got on the bird, I wasn’t really sure what I was looking at. It was in the top of a tree and all I could see was the outline.

It had a really pointy bill and a sleek and slender body outline. I thought it might have been a Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) at first, but it seemed a bit early in the year for them. The bird floated down to a lower branch where the lighting wasn’t s harsh and I could see the color patterns.

It was the Say’s Phoebe. I pulled out my camera and tried to get some photos but they kept coming out blurry as the wind was blowing me around. The Phoebe kept flitting around as if it didn’t even notice that I was there and I kept snapping. To my relief, I was able to capture an image where you can see the defining features of this bird for identification

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) giving good looks

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