[wisb] Say's Phoebe update and info

First the Harris's Sparrow continues for the fourth day in my yard.   
Had it early this morning when Joe S. stopped by and saw it within 5  
minutes, and then again later.  It was also here this evening when I  
finally had a chance to look out after a hectic day.
The SAY'S PHOEBE was originally spotted along the Main Dike Rd  
(Horicon Marsh) by the water control gates across from where the  
Black-necked Stilts nested this summer.  It was sitting on a large  
mound of dirt/gravel that the federal employees have brought in and  
dumped for some reason.  Initial id points included, phoebe size  
(like our Eastern), grayish/brownish body---head, back, wings, tail  
and upper breast, and the rusty lower parts of the breast.  It then  
flew to the railing of the walk over the water control "dam".  I  
moved my vehicle a little closer and was able to watch it for 10-15  
minutes as it "hawked" for insects numerous times.  It moved back and  
forth along the railing, sometimes very close to me and other times a  
little more distant.  As the walk/railing are on the north side of  
the road the lighting was excellent in the clear, early afternoon sun.

I then noticed a vehicle pulling up behind me so I had to move.  As  
the vehicle went by the walk the phoebe flew back into the cattails  
and disappeared.  By this time I had tried calling several people,  
who either were not home or talking on their phone.  Finally I was  
able to contact Bettie to ask her to post an alert on the net.  Soon  
after the bird reappeared from the cattails, catching insects over  
the water before resuming its perch on the railing.  As another  
vehicle was approaching I moved forward slowly and the bird took off,  
flying parallel to the road to the west, eventually landing in the  
dead tree, where the Peregrines often perch between harassing the  
shorebirds.  The Reels were in this next vehicle, so while I was  
trying to give Bettie another update, I was trying to point out the  
phoebe in the right side of the tree.  Don and Christine were able to  
get their scope on it and note all the id points, including the  
pumping of its tail.

When about 750 Dunlins took flight to our left we were briefly  
distracted.  When we looked back the phoebe had disappeared.  A few  
other birders arrived but we were not able to relocate it in the  
ensuing hour unfortunately.

Other birds present in this area were 9 Am Pipits, the big flock of  
Dunlins (perhaps from Ashland?!), 10 dowitchers of which most were  
Long-billed but 2 looked like Short-billed, 1 Am Golden Plover, 10  
Greater Yellowlegs, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper plus  
other standard birds.

To say that sighting the Say's Phoebe, especially here, was most  
unexpected is an understatement! It is beginning to appear that we  
may, finally, be starting to get some unusual birds in the state this  
fall.  Here is hoping that the phoebe can be relocated, although the  
habitat is challenging, plus other interesting sightings will be made  
in the ensuing days.  Good luck everyone.
Daryl Tessen
Appleton, WI





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  • » [wisb] Say's Phoebe update and info - Daryl Tessen