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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Wing'd XXIX: Rare Flycatcher is One-day Wonder

Posted by | June 11, 2014 | Filed under: Observations
Scissor-tailed flycatcher photo by Ken Janes
Birder Ken Janes got a thrill when he came upon a scissor-tailed flycatcher along the Muskie Trail in early June. Oklahoma's state bird is a real rarity in Maine, but remarkably this was the second one seen at the reserve. The long-tailed beauty was enjoyed by a handful of lucky birders before apparently flying off after just a few hours.

While mighty unusual, the scissor-tail is not so rare in the state that the Maine Bird Records Committee requests documentation of each occurrence. Still, it doesn't hurt to have a series of photos, so it's nice that Ken tends to carry his Canon when he's out in the field.

At the prompting of eBird editor Doug Hitchcox, I searched that database for Maine records of this species and came up with these occurrences (June looks like the month of choice):

  • 1978-06-22 Clinton
  • 1987-06-21 Goose Rocks Beach through 1987-06-26
  • 1988-06-18 Kennebunk Plains through 1988-07-15
  • 2001-06-xx near Topsham
  • 2003-05-14 Prospect Harbor
  • 2009-08-22 Richmond
  • 2009-11-xx Freedom
  • 2011-06-xx Blue Hill Bay
  • 2012-06-02 Burnham-Pittsfield through 2012-06-06
  • 2014-06-09 Laudholm Farm

That 1988 record has quite a back story. Doug retrieved the following excerpt from an old issue of American Birds.

Excerpt from American Birds detailing attempted nesting by a scissor-tailed flycatcher on Kennebunk Plains in 1988.

Drought then, drought now; nature's patterns playing out predictably?

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