This is why I was surprised by the first picture I saw of the current sighting, because it’s a mature bird. At the time the first record was here, the experts were shocked that it was a mature bird, because usually the Fork-tailed Flycatchers that ended up in the US were young birds that apparently got turned around and went the wrong way during their first migration.
My recollection is that the first record bird, which was very cooperative, stayed in the same area until a January ice storm came through.
317 West K Ave.
N. Little Rock, AR 72116
> On Nov 17, 2020, at 5:36 PM, Barry Haas <bhaas...> wrote:
> Dear ARBIRders,
> I’d like to add a bit of context to the January 1995 sighting of the first Fork-tailed Flycatcher. In the olden days the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas used to charter 47-passenger touring buses, one or two depending on demand, to take a large group of birders from Little Rock to Holla Bend NWR for the day. That day we had a bus group along with one or more private vehicles which either followed the bus along Highways 10, 9 and finally 154, or drove to Holla Bend independently and met up with us there.
> That day the bus or buses traveled to Holla Bend on a scenic route by going to and atop Petit Jean Mountain on the back roads, and then down to the lowlands to the west on our way to Holla Bend. Someone would use the speaker system on the bus to alert everyone on the bus when we saw something worth viewing. I was the speaker guy at times since I coordinated the sale of seats ($10 I think?) on the bus. At the and of the day when everyone was weary, the bus would head back to our departure point in Little Rock on I-40 which was a quicker route home.
> At the end of an enjoyable day at Holla Bend the bus headed north to I-40 while a private vehicle that included Bill Shepherd, Brant Buck, Ragan Sutterfield and one other person I don’t recall headed east on Highway 154. Not too long after they turned onto Hwy. 154 Ragan said he had seen a Fork-tailed Flycatcher, perched on a sign beside the road as I recall. Ragan at that time was about 15 years old, and something of a birding prodigy. The vehicle turned around, and sure enough, Ragan was right! Imagine that. Good eyes!
> For days birders from multiple states burned gas and heated the planet up some more so they could say they had seen the flycatcher. Check! After a cold front moved through some days after the initial sighting, there were no more sightings of the Fork-tailed Flycatcher.
> Two thumbs up to Ragan for his eagle eyes.
> From the deep woods just west of Little Rock where most of the leaves have fallen,
> Barry Haas
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