Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finding the Gray Flycatcher

Veteran birder Roy Gerig extended an invitation on-line for a couple of people to make a return trip with him to Detroit Flats to see the Gray Flycatcher. Jim Kopitzke and I jumped at the chance to go with him.  Jim is also a very experienced birder, so it was a chance for me to sit in with two very good birders and learn a lot. I learned that the Gray Flycatcher is a bird of the pine forest and sagebrush on the east side of the Cascades, so is a rare bird for Western Oregon.  As it turned out this flycatcher was almost the first bird we saw when we got to Detroit yesterday morning, save for a Wild Turkey roaming the streets. And the next bird we saw was a Long-eared Owl, but that’s a story for another day. Without Roy’s expertise I would never have been able to recognize this Gray Flycatcher.  Flycatchers can be very hard to identify because a number of them look so similar.  This one has a couple of strange behaviors that can tip you off.  It wags its tail differently, something I would have never noticed, and for the most part flicks from bush to bush picking up bugs close to or on the ground.  We reported four sighting of the Gray Flycatcher to eBird, its quiet possible we saw more, but Roy was hesitant to push the envelope.  In all we identified 42 different species of birds, two of which were “lifers” for me, and 15 of which were county firsts for the year for me. It’s going to take a day or two for me to calm down from all this.  


  1. Donaldsville LarryApril 29, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    And your heart was all a-twitter!

  2. Hi there, sounds like you had loads of fun. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris