Dusky-capped Flycatcher still at Pismo Beach

Kevin Zimmer

I left for two weeks of guiding in Panama the day that the Dusky-capped Flycatcher was found along the creek adjacent to the Monarch Butterfly Preserve in Pismo. After a flurry of reports in the first several days after its discovery, all news of this bird disappeared from the list serve, so I wasn’t sure if the bird was still around or not. But with a brief break in the rain today, I decided to head down and find out for myself. I was blown away by how flooded the campground was, but people that I talked to said that it was worse a few days ago, when the trail along the creek was actually under water. I spent the first 45 minutes walking up and down the stream in both directions from the bridge that connects the campground to the Monarch Preserve, with zero success. Just as I was considering bailing and heading to Oceano campground, I heard the bird call, seemingly some distance away. It called three times over the course of 10 minutes, but the calls were so faint that I couldn’t even determine which direction they were coming from. Then the calls ceased, and I heard nothing more for another 20 minutes. Finally, the bird called again, closer this time, and I spotted it in the willows to the north and east of the bridge. I spent about 20 minutes following the bird as it foraged in the strip of willows between the campground and the footpath (east of the bridge). During this time, it foraged actively, changing perches constantly, but remaining fairly high within the willows. It only called sporadically, and then quietly. All vocalizations but one were the typical single note, somewhat melancholy whistle. On one occasion it came the rolling, multi-note "pr-pr-pr-pr-pr-pr….” call that is most often given during interactions with conspecifics. After following the bird for 20 minutes and getting some reasonable record photos (the light was abysmal), I left it at 1245h.

I also heard (but did not see) a Bullock’s Oriole chatter several times from the campground.

Kevin Zimmer

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