Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bodega Tropical Kingbirds

After a maddening seawatch for boobies at Bodega Head, Jay Riggio, Jessie Godfray and I went down a little bit looking for migrant passerines at a nearby small pond (with the clever name: hole in the head). After quickly hearing a kingbird, we located it briefly and saw that it was quite a yellow bird. I immediately called it a Tropical and then spent the better part of a half hour while we tried to relocate it convincing myself that it couldn't have been one. Luckily, Jay had more faith and after a bit of looking, we relocated it and saw the key fieldmarks: the extensive yellow, lack of white outer rectrices on a brown - not black - tail with a notch.

Yellow, yellow and more yellow. Also the massive bill. 

notched tail, check. no white rex, check. 

At the same time we were watching one bird and noting these characteristics, another one called. Tropicals sound harsher and quicker to me than Western (or Eastern, for that matter). Eventually we saw both at once.

The last time I saw Tropical Kingbird was May of 2012... been out of Latin America for too long. I can't find a picture of a Tropical Kingbird from any of my travels, though they were common birds in Argentina, Uruguay and Peru. So instead, here is my favorite kingbird:

Snowy-throated Kingbird, Bosque de Pomac, Lambayeque, Peru. April 2, 2011

1 comment:

  1. Eric, Very nice photos. I appreciate your comments below each photo: the finer points of identification. That is helpful to those of us who have not seen this bird more than one or two times, if ever. It was a trip watching the (Northern?) Waterthrush with you last evening. And, as you pointed out, we did get a chance to see one of the Tropical Kingbirds around 6:30 pm at the far south end of the Cove, but it was getting cold and dark with the sun behind the Head and the bird quickly disappeared. Maybe we'll get better looks today.
    Your birding friends, and the remnant members of Dan Nelson's RROS birding team at Bodega Bay.
    Brook and Orion O'Connor

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