Date: 11/5/19 6:45 am
From: Joe Roller <jroller9...>
Subject: [cobirds] What's the deal on this rare Red-flanked Bluetail in nearby Wyoming?
Several of you have asked me for information about this "way lost" bird,
found
yesterday by Cody Porter, a savvy birder in nearby Laramie, Wyoming.
Kudos to Cody for getting "the word" out promptly!

That Bluetail has become known as the "Laramie Rarity". (Say in fast three
times).
A few Colorado birders made it up to the Equality State yesterday, Nov 4,
and many
more are on the scene or en route at this very moment.

Honestly, I had never even heard of this species, so I studied up on it a
bit, using
eBird maps and other on-line sources. Might as well share what I learned.
Any of this can be amended or corrected by more knowledgable birders or
those who have actually seen the bird.

The *Red-flanked Bluetail* is an old world flycatcher (formerly thought to
be
a kind of thrush) that breeds in cooler climates of Northern Europe and
Asia,
eg, Scandinavia, Russia, northern China and south into more temperate parts
of
southern China, Japan, etc.

The Scandinavian population migrates southwest to England, France, etc,
with
some straying further to Mediterranean countries, but NOT to the eastern
US, as many
other "overshoot" species have done.
The Asiatic breeding Buetails migrate pretty much due south to spend the
winter in southern China and Japan, with records as far south as Vietnam.

And a few individuals, perhaps with a faulty GPS in their brains, migrate
east and southeast,
showing up to winter in Alaska and the US west coast, as far south as Los
Angeles.

These vagrants have stayed for months, attracting hundreds of eager birders
from all over the US. The
closest one ever got to Colorado was the Bluetail that spent the winter of
2016-17 in far western Idaho,
where some intrepid Colorado birders were able to see it.

BUT there are no US records of Red-flanked Bluetail for any points east of
Idaho until yesterday, when
the Laramie rarity (kind of rhymes) was found and photographed.

Why drive that far to see this Bluetail? Check out the airfare to other
places you could find one,
like Sweden,Finland or that other popular Bluetail breeding site near Lake
Baikal, Дорога до Теплых озер (Tepli Ozera access track).

Will it survive the cool Wyoming winter? Only if it has a consistent food
supply and is carrying
a lucky rabbit's foot, BUT the bird is sure to arrive in Colorado soon if
it continues on its apparent southeasterwardly
journey.
So keep those mealworms handy, and watch your feeder continuously. You too
could enjoy 500 birders crowding into
your kitchen for a glimpse of this year's rarity, Red-flanked Bluetail!

Thanks and good birding!
Joe Roller, Denver

PS
IF you plan to seek out the Bluetail, work up a carload, pack up, and go
the alley near this address:
658 1/2 North 9th Street, Laramie, WY.
The homeowner, Cody Porter, has welcomed birders so far, but of course that
could change,
based on the historic observation that "life happens".

The exact site is pinpointed on the eBird hotspot map, labelled:
"stakeout Red-flanked Bluetail, Laramie, 2019"
That hotspot can be used even if the bird has moved a few blocks.

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