Date: 10/23/17 4:14 pm From: <diomedea.stephen...> [peninsula-birding] <peninsula-birding-noreply...> Subject: [pen-bird] Rock Wren and Western Kingbird (yes, Western)
Started out trying for the Le Conte's Sparrow. I arrived after the party reported by Donna Pomeroy, and waited for about 90-minutes with no success.
Then headed up to Devil's Slide Trail for Jennifer Rycenga's ROCK WRENs. Right beyond the restrooms at the beginning of the trail (north parking lot), a scratchy wren-like sound drew our attention, but the bird was a Bewick's Wren. Perhaps another 100-meters down (up) the trail, two more wren-like vocalizers were heard. Sharon got on one of them, and it was a ROCK WREN; presumably, the other one was also vocalizing, but it was down the cliff on the ocean side and we didn't see it.
Returning to the parking lot, a bird shadow flew overhead. I got on it after it captured a large insect prey and returned with it to the cypress across the trail & part way up the cliff from the restrooms. "Tropical Kingbird," I announced, and we both got on it for a five-minute study. Bill seemed suitably large. Yellow of breast was brilliant, although it didn't approach the throat. "But wait a minute! This bird has prominent, bilateral, white outer rect's!" We both confirmed this observation as it sat and consumed its meal, fanned its tail, and resumed its regular perched form. The thing about these prominent, white feathers is that they were, well, PROMINENT, and WHITE. Personally, I have never seen a Tropical Kingbird with white outer rect's. So our conclusion: WESTERN KINGBIRD. Problem is of course the timing. This bird is nearly 5-weeks later than I've seen any Western Kingbird posting for San Mateo (Chris Hayward's Sept. 16th sighting) -- although eBird suggests at least a single sighting during the first week of October.
Regrettably, didn't have camera.
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
University of California, Berkeley