...on the afternoon I returned home from 3 months of fieldwork that took me away from our region.
|Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher (Myiodynastes luteiventris)|
That afternoon, Heidi texted me about a likely Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher (SBFL) down at Carolyn Ohl-Johnson's Christmas Mountains Oasis in south Brewster County.
By the time Heidi returned home, we were both dead-tired for a variety of reasons. However, there were several hours of daylight remaining. We meant to get down there first thing tomorrow. However, tomorrow is never promised, nor is the bird.
We hopped in the truck and, fatigue-enduring, drove the distance down to Carolyn's.
No more than 10 minutes on-site brought us this:
WOW. A beautiful SBFL, entirely active in foraging, fly-catching right in front of us on the trail. Heidi spotted it first. I have found it very beneficial to have a birder-spouse who is a foot shorter than I.
While this individual seems to be the 21st record in Texas, it is ONLY the 2nd trans-Pecos Regional record. It is certainly still a Texas Bird Records Committee (TBRC) review species. Rest assured, field notes were taken along with these photos.
We enjoyed beautifully entertaining views, off and on, during a 45 minutes observation of this individual.
We were fortunate that we did tear our carcasses off the couch in Marathon and headed down to south county.
Divine inspiration, perhaps.
Because the following day, this bird was not relocated. It is HIGHLY likely that it has moved on.
You just never know when it comes to birding the Big Bend area of far-West Texas. Thanks so much for Carolyn Ohl-Johnson and her years of dedication to create and maintain an excellent habitat in south Brewster County. Check out her 'blog at cmoasis.blogspot.com. It is worth it to follow and subscribe to her posts.
Find your way down there, and I guarantee it is worth the price of a non-obligatory donation.
She and her oasis are icons of Texas and Big Bend birding.
What rarity will be next? It doesn't entirely matter, as even her expected resident birds are excellent and sought after.
Whew. Welcome home me, I guess. And thanks to Carolyn.
**photos taken mostly by Heidi Trudell. My only interference with them is some of the cropping for framing in a blog.