October 31st   Leave a comment

There was a red-breasted flycatcher reported from the Patch at Fife Ness late yesterday afternoon. I was down there just after first light to hopefully catch up with it. I was slightly pessimistic because last night was clear and with light westerly winds so good for a migrant to continue its journey. Luck tends to average out, so my poor luck at the weekend of just missing white-billed divers was evened out again (although arguably that was done with the Sabine’s gull on Monday) with the flycatcher popping up right in front of me within thirty seconds of arriving in the right area. It looked at me, I looked at it – getting the black tail with its white sides and the eye ring and general small flycatcheryness – and then it was gone into the denser cover of the pine trees around the ringing hut. I then spent 40 minutes wandering around the patch looking for it again, wondering if I had imagined it. I should have stayed where I first saw it. When I staked out the area about 20 meters northeast of the ringing hut and just waited for it, I got to see it every few minutes. They really move about, never staying on a perch for more than a few seconds before dropping to the ground to pick something up and then dashing off to the next perch a few meters away. You do get good views but like hummingbirds, the bird has to come to you rather than you chasing the bird. A couple of views were really nice so I could eliminate taiga flycatcher – the very far east Siberian version of the red-breasted flycatcher that has only been recognised as a separate species. Late season red-breasted flycatchers – they usually turn up in September or early October – are more likely to be taiga flycatchers. But the bird this morning lacked a whiter throat patch, had orangey-buff tones (not greyish) on the breast and an almost entirely pale horn coloured bill (rather than mostly blackish). The other clinching character for taiga – the black upper tail coverts was impossible to see and I doubt you can use it in the field unless it the bird is right in front of you, or you can get photos to enlarge later. Anyway, a clear red-breasted flycatcher and about my 8thfor the Crail list. Apart from the flycatcher, the Patch was fairly quiet. A few redwings and a flock of long-tailed tits being slightly out of the ordinary.

Red-breasted flycatcher

Posted October 31, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s