I'm certain that I'm not the entertained the question of whether or not the
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher discovered at Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk this
Saturday could possibly be the same bird that disappeared from Krumkill
Road in the capital region a few days prior. I'm normally leery of "One
Bird Theory," since I generally believe that there are more vagrants out
there than we realize and conditions favorable for bringing one individual
out of range may transport others. I didn't originally give it
much thought. I chased the Suffolk bird since I'd missed the window of
opportunity for Albany and happily added a state bird.

Later, after writing up my NYSARC report where I wrote the two records as
probable coincidence, I decided to take a closer look. Brendan Fogarty was
the first to assess the timing and distance issue, pointing out that even
at just 20 mph it would only take about 7 hours of flight time to travel
the straight line distance of roughly 45 miles. The hypothetical route
taken by a flycatcher between the two locations may not have been so
direct, but then again such a bird may fly faster during active migration.
At any rate, 7 hours over the course of 2 days seems like a manageable
feet. Upon inspecting the plumage in photos from both records, I noticed a
number of intriguing similarities. The spacing between the white edges of
the greater and median secondary coverts matches up, a feature that seems
to be fairly unique to individuals based on Google and eBird image
searches. Additionally, in both instances there is a noticeable dark line
extending back from the eye of the bird on the right side.

Albany Image Credits: Sue Barth, Brendan Fogarty, Zach Schwartz-Weinstein
Paul Novak,
Suffolk Image Credits: Tim Healy, Pat Palladino, Eileen Schwinn

Thought that others might be interested in this review and might have more
to add.

-Tim H


NYSbirds-L List Info:

1) http://www.mail-archive.com/nysbirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L
3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01

Please submit your observations to eBird:


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