Hanging with a Vagrant in Westport CT

Western Kingbird, flycatching from perch on bluebird house, fall vagrant, Smith-Richardson Sanctuary, CAS, Wesport, CT. ©Townsend P. Dickinson. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kymrygroup.com

Sunday, November 13, 2011 was a beautiful day to be out for a local birding adventure. Thanks to Nick Bonomo for noticing that a Western Kingbird had been reported in Westport on eBird and sending an alert to the CT Bird List. We were planning to visit the H. Smith-Richardson CAS Sanctuary anyway for a chance at the recently seen Chat.

I would strongly suggest becoming a subscriber to CT Birds http://lists.ctbirding.org/mailman/listinfo/ctbirds_lists.ctbirding.org The many contributors to the CT Bird list, and other lists, are extremely helpful in getting the word out on interesting birds almost as soon as they are seen.

Western Kingbird, fall vagrant, flycathing fron brushes bordering field, Smith-Richardson Sactuary, CAS, Wesport, CT. ©Townsend P. Dickinson. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kymrygroup.com

A conspicuous and aggressive bird of open country, the Western Kingbird is common throughout the western United States and Southern Canada. It is often found in open fields and around human habitation, and frequently uses telephone poles, fence posts, and other man-made structures for nesting. It is an uncommon but regular fall visitor in the east.

An Adult is a Medium-sized songbird with head and chest gray with a yellow belly, the tail is a black, and square-tipped, with white outer feathers. The Immature or Juvenile is similar to adult, but paler, wings edged with buff, crown without orange feathers. When sighting a Western Flycatcher, one should also consider similar species that are the Cassin’s, Tropical and Couch’s kingbird

Western Kingbird, fall vagrant, gulping down crab apple fruit, Smith-Richardson Sanctuary, CAS, Wesport, CT. ©Townsend P. Dickinson. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kymrygroup.com

Western Kingbird, fall vagrant, gulping down crab apple fruit, Smith-Richardson Sanctuary, CAS, Wesport, CT. ©Townsend P. Dickinson. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kymrygroup.com

Western Kingbird, fall vagrant, gulping down crab apple fruit, Smith-Richardson Sanctuary, CAS, Wesport, CT. ©Townsend P. Dickinson. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kymrygroup.com

We spent over half a day observing and photographing this entertaining vagrant. Flocks of Eastern Bluebirds, American Robins and Cedar Waxwings kept it company. The Bluebirds were observed early in the day by Vanessa, interacting with the Western Kingbird as it approached the Bluebirds favorite foraging areas. Both species were actively flycatching, although the Bluebirds unceremonious plop to the ground in no way rivaled the spectacular foraging flights of the WK. When the WK visited fruit ladened trees, to grab some fruit or a bug, it was sometimes joined by American Robins, Eastern Blue Birds and Cedar Waxwings doing the same thing.

Western Kingbird, fall vagrant, flycatching, Smith-Richardson Sanctuary, CAS, Wesport, CT. ©Townsend P. Dickinson. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kymrygroup.com

I found Richard Crossley’s description of the foraging Western Kingbird, in The Crossley ID Guide, to be accurate. It frequently flew a considerable distance for no apparent reason; rather enjoying it’s self, after taking one or two successful forays in one location, seemingly just because it could.

So five hours given to a bird is not a waste in my book. Of course we could have ticked it off in five minutes and been off the next one, but the bird had lessons to teach us about itself that required hours to learn, not minutes. Besides the other visiting humans, the birders and photographers, provided pleasant conversations and helped the time fly by. It was good to see some folks again and it was a chance for all to catch up. For some of us the next encounter will be for certain, at the next good bird, location and date to be determined.

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About Kymry

Welcome to the Kymry Blog. In this blog we will be showcasing photography by several different photographers with a Look in time from 1925 to the present. Share some Business & Technology of Photography. Including adventures in the birding world and many other interesting insights and observations along the way.
This entry was posted in Adventurers, Birders, Birding, Birding News, Conservation, CT Birding News, Environmental, Fairfield Connecticut, Photography, Townsend P. Dickinson, Travel, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hanging with a Vagrant in Westport CT

  1. Fabulous photos…Lovely bird…TFS…!!!

  2. Larry says:

    Interesting bird to see around here terrific and those photos! I especially like the second one. What a great capture with a mouthful of crab apple and eyes wide open-what a great photo!

  3. Cindy says:

    I love the photos of the bird gulping the crab apples; seems like he had quite a mouth full! Nice photos

  4. Dan Huber says:

    nice photos and description of the kingbird.

    dan

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