[Tweeters] Say's Phoebe still catching flies at the West Point
josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Sun Mar 8 14:08:46 PDT 2015
The Say's Phoebe was present the entire time I was there, from 11:00 AM to 12:10 PM, at the West Point lighthouse. Two birders, one of whom was a park employee named Ann, were watching it on the roof of the lighthouse keeper's house when I arrived.
The phoebe was using every possible perch, from the corners of roof tiles to windowsills to the fence, vertical driftwood and even the lighthouse keeper's satellite dish, as a launching point from which to sally out and swoop acrobatically to catch insects just above the grass or in the air.
The bird would occasionally pump its relatively long tail, sometimes fanning it as well. When the fog burned off, the sunlight really brought out the salmon pink colors of the underparts, which blended into the earthy grey of the head, back and breast.
Seeing the Say's Phoebe flying above the grass and around the lighthouse was reminiscent of a pastoral scene in Eastern Washington, fitting for this visitor from the Columbia Plateau and surrounding countrysides.
West Point certainly does have vagrant potential. I found a Palm Warbler out at the lighthouse last September, and I think that there's been a White Wagtail there too.
Birds also seen included crows, robins, Brants, a Golden-crowned and Song Sparrow, a male Anna's Hummingbird, a cormorant of undetermined species, and four scoters that Ann said were likely White-winged. A Bald Eagle was perched on the radio tower, and two Starlings vied with the phoebe for perches and attention for a short time.
A stop at the Arboretum produced no Red-naped or Red-breasted Sapsucker, but a Fox Sparrow sang from a shrub to make the stop worthwhile.
Good day to be birding!
Watching for Rufous Hummingbirds,
Mercer Island, WA
Josh.n.glant at gmail.com
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