Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Great Crested Flycatcher at the Rookery

Today at lunch I headed over to the heronry to check on the babies, and although none had fledged, I was lucky enough to see a few practicing! Although intrigued with the herons’ behavior, when the knocking of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo broke through my concentration, I couldn’t resist ducking out of the cover of the windbreak to try to find him! He sounded like he was over by the edge of the woods near the creek and for a few moments I saw him. The spots on his tail feathers were a dead give-away as I watched him through a small break in the branches.  As I started to walk back to the windbreak, I saw a bird with a yellow belly sitting on a dead branch in the brush pile. Yowsers! A Great Crested Flycatcher! I had heard him sing earlier, but hadn’t recognized the song. Now I knew it. I’d never been able to photograph a Great Crested Flycatcher before, so my adrenalin was pumping and I almost couldn’t focus.

This photo shows the reddish tones in his flared tail.

I was too excited and moved a bit too fast trying to adjust the monopod (why was I even using this thing anyway!). He took off, but only flew a few feet away and dropped to the ground where he hunted through the grass clippings. In the past, I had only seen Great Crested Flycatchers higher up in the canopy of large trees. Why was this guy in the grass?

Maybe he was looking for suitable nesting material 
and the grass clippings looked promising...

Too soon, he flew to the copse of trees by the pond and landed on a dead branch. His mate, absent before, joined him briefly before flying higher in the tree. He soon followed to the top. I’d never been that close to a Great Crested Flycatcher before…and I liked it!

This guy was having a really good hair day because 
his crest almost always was nice and smooth.  

24 comments:

Nature As Is said...

Oh Kelly I really like this little series. Lovely shots and I would have to agree with you that the Flycatcher was definately looking for something in the grass..Late in the season now for nesting??? Or am I wrong. Oh thank you for your lovely visit on the blog today!! Your comments always put a smile on my face. Did you notice my posts on Purple Martins? Do you get Purple Martins down where you live?

Crista

Nick S said...

Many congrats on the GCFL Kelly !
I saw my first one last year :-)
I wonder what other migrants you'll see this year ....?

Bren said...

This is wonderful! And the photography is breath taking - Yellow totally fills your soul with the warmth of summer. I envy your ability to put your thoughts in to such elegant words.

Happy Spring from my Garden in the Midwest.

Greener Bangalore said...

Great shots Kelly....!!!

Chris said...

Beautiful observation Kelly. These are great shots of a very nice bird. Well done.

Midmarsh John said...

Well done in capturing the Great Crested Flycatcher. I know that feeling of panic when seeing something special and trying to get a photo quickly in case it moves away. Lovely photos.

Montanagirl said...

Wonderful photos as always. Have never seen one of those before.

dAwN said...

Hee hee..I know what you mean about getting excited...I am surprised you could hold your camera so still!
Your shots are awesome..
I really like the second one with the head cocked!
So cool that you were able to be soo close.
I tried for days to get a photo of one at my sisters...no luck!
LOl..the word verification was
I mist...I sure did miss getting the shot!

Kelly said...

Crista....thanks...yes.....fabulous. One of my favorite birds too...

Nick...thank you. I wonder if I'll ever get that close again? Next time I'll be ready.

Bren...you're so right....yellow is summer and I love your description of it.

Greener...thank you!

Chris...thanks...

John...yes, that's truly it "Panic!" Thank you...

Montanagirl...thank you (but you've seen so many other cool birds!!).

Dawn...that's hysterical....it's funny how sometimes the verification actually fits. I've had some real whoppers. Thank you. I hope i get to see him again some day.

Warren Baker said...

Nice one Kelly. A typical flycatcher shape to this bird, but much more colouful than our flycatchers. well done.

Rene said...

What a cute little bird! It's hard to get up close to smaller birds. Great sneaking up work. No photos of the cuckoo?? ;)

Kelly said...

Warren...he is definitely one of our more colorful flycatchers. We have others that are more grey. Thanks!

Rene...I tried, but it's very blurry because the autofocus kept focusing on the surrounding leaves...and then he was gone. I have some cuckoo photos from April at this link: http://redandthepeanut.blogspot.com/search/label/Yellow-billed%20Cuckoo

Laure Ferlita said...

The image of your flycatcher in the grass with his head cocked just tickles me. He looks like he's thinking "what in the world is she doing??!!"

Lovely story to accompany the images as always!

ShySongbird said...

What a lovely bird Kelly and your beautiful photos do justice to it. What a thrill for you to get them, I can definitely imagine your heart beating faster as you took them!

holdingmoments said...

What a beauty Kelly, love that second shot.
I can imagine just how you were feeling when you saw it, and got the pictures.

Chris Petrak said...

Very nice GCFL - I'm still catching up from travels, but need to get out and look for these. They're usually at tree top level - great to get it down low - nice shots

The Early Birder said...

He's a stunner Kelly & certainly much easier to ID than the 'Empids' that tested me in Texas!

Shellmo said...

I love the colors on this bird - great shots!!

Andor Marton said...

This is a very colorful flycatcher and you have captured it well. I saw my first one last year in Brazil, we don't have here this species.

Phil and Mandy said...

Thanks again Kelly for another good blog.

Roy said...

Hi Kelly, I know exactly what you mean about rushing to get a shot of something different. We have all done it, I still do on many occasions. Lovely bird.

Ginnymo said...

What a pretty bird they are and you sure got some great photos of it Kelly!! I saw something today but missed getting a photo because my camera was in the other room. I was so mad at myself. It almost looks like this Flycatcher but it had a greenish head and white chest. But a nice slim looking bird with a bigger head and big eyes. About 8 inches. I am so mad at myself. I sure hope I see it again. I've never seen anything like it. Can't find anything in my book that looked like it either.

Steve B said...

They are wonderful birds.

iva yaneva said...

aw, what a cutie! :)