[Tweeters] thoughts about the Variegated Flycatcher

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Wed Sep 10 14:21:51 PDT 2008

Hello, tweets.

I didn't make it across the Cascades on the Spectacular Vagrant
Weekend, but Steve Mlodinow was nice enough to send me some of his
photos of the Variegated Flycatcher. Other than sheer envy, this was
part of my response to Steve's photos, and I was asked to share it
with the group:

Note the old and new rectrices in photo 10. Looks like the outermost
rectrix on the right side is a worn, pointed juvenile feather, still
present from a previous plumage, so this is presumably a young bird
just finishing a prealternate molt. It looks in fresh plumage. This
should be "spring" for a Variegated Flycatcher, so I wonder if it has
been up here all summer and completed this molt here, on what would
be its wintering grounds. Of course that's assuming it's a bird from
an austral migratory population (coming from southern South America).
If it were from the great spread of equatorial populations, with
differently timed rainy seasons, its annual cycle would be more
difficult to determine, but most of the birds from South America that
turn up quiet unexpectedly in northern North America are thought to
be austral migrants.
Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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