After 6 unsuccessful attempts, I finally saw the Pacific-Slope Flycatcher in Hadley yesterday. So the first state record is still around, or at least was very recently.
The bird was NOT cooperative yesterday. All of the people who have posted over the past few weeks that they were there for 45 minutes and had multiple good looks at the bird, and got clear photos? Yeah, that didn’t happen yesterday. (Or any of the 7 days that I’ve been to the site)
I arrived and was told that the bird had been seen 20 minutes earlier, by one birder. That birder (who turned out to be Bird Observer editor Marsha Salett) had signaled to the other birders present at that time, but the bird disappeared before they could get close enough to see it. That observation took place along the main trail, in the last band of brush before the river.
I’d been there for over an hour before I got my glimpse. I was down the side path that runs south, parallel to the river, into the woods, over several fallen trees. I had spent more than half of that hour-plus staring at the large thicket of privet where the bird had apparently been observed on several occasions. I was expecting it, if it appeared at all (which I wasn’t really expecting), to pop up onto an exposed perch, since flycatchers usually do that. But instead, it appeared roughly waist-high in the thicket, below most of the foliage; it flicked its tail a couple of times, and made a couple of quick sallies to the ground, then was gone. I had it in view for maybe 5 seconds, and in my binoculars for not much more than 1. I had exchanged cell phone numbers with another birder who’d remained along the main path, so we could contact each other if we saw The Bird, but it was gone before he even answered his phone, much less had made it over to my location.
I was there for maybe another hour and a half, trying to help the other birders present get a look at the critter, and maybe get a photo. No dice; the bird did not reappear for the rest of daylight. Also did not vocalize at all, the entire time, including when I had it in sight.
A Gray Catbird was also lurking in the privet patch; getting a little late for that species to still be in the Valley now.