Wednesday, November 06, 2013


As you might expect given the number of bugs we get here, flycatchers are a very common sight in our area from spring through fall. Of the many species that you are liable to see here at that time of year the most spectacular is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

When winter approaches, the warm-weather flycatchers head south and few if any are still here by Christmas. Throughout most of the winter they are traditionally replaced by only one flycatcher species, the Eastern Phoebe.

However, in recent years there have been frequent sightings of several flycatcher species that wouldn't normally be found in our area. The most commonly sighted of these birds is the Vermilion Flycatcher. 



Vermilion Flycatchers now routinely winter at sites such as Bear Creek Park, El Franco Lee Park and Anahuac NWR.

Two other southern birds are also being seen with increasing regularity. 

Couch's Kingbirds often turn up on the Katy Prairie and at sites such as Bear Creek Park.

Great Kiskadees frequently appear on the Katy Prairie, too, but they are also spotted at Sheldon Lake and other local sites.

Say's Phoebes are less commonly seen but sometimes winter in our area. This one spent last winter in El Franco Lee Park.

If you go birding in our area this winter, you are likely to see all five of the species mentioned above. And if you are really lucky, you may even see some other flycatcher species. For example, last winter Bear Creek Park hosted a Greater Pewee, an extremely rare visitor to Texas.



Dave said...

Good topic Jeff.

I saw the wonderful Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher in Venezuela, didn't get an image as good as yours though. Great Kiskadee and a host of other large flycatchers were present also.

Its a shame we only get a couple of summer migrant flycatchers here in the UK.


Jeff said...

We get a lot of different species here in the summer, Dave, although I myself saw only a few.