Vermilion Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Hermit Warbler & possible Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at Oceano Campground

Kevin Zimmer

Just back from a full morning of birding in South County, most of it spent at Oceano Campground.  Best find was a young male Vermilion Flycatcher, which I am just now seeing that Mike Bush has already posted to this site.  I posted it to the rare bird text message group when I first found it, and then again 30 minutes later when Brad Schram and I re-found it.  I never saw any other posts about this bird prior to finding it, nor did I see any responses to either of my posts on the message system, so, hopefully, these messages were actually posted to the group.  

Anyway, Brad and I followed the Vermilion Flycatcher around for another 30+ minutes after relocating it – it was basically patrolling the entire north end of the campground, particularly between campsites 60–80, perching on small posts and sallying out to the ground after insects.  Last seen around 11:00 a.m.

We also saw what I assume to be the previously reported Tropical Kingbird, perched out on bare branches hanging over the water at the north end of the lagoon.

Prior to running into Brad, I worked through a couple of Bushtit & Chickadee flocks pretty carefully, finding 1 Hermit Warbler, 12+ Townsend’s Warblers, 3 Orange-crowned Warblers, 5+ Yellow Warblers, 4 Wilson’s Warblers and 3 Warbling Vireos, plus a group of 5 Scaly-breasted Munias near the start of the Grand Dunes Trail.

I also had a naked-eye, nanosecond glimpse of what looked like a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that blasted out of a fruiting Myoporum at the base of the Peninsula.  This was around 0900h and I never saw the bird again.  I can’t emphasize enough how fleeting and poor my view was, but my instant impression was of Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, a species which I’ve literally seen many thousands of, so, birders visiting the campground should be alert to that possibility.

I also checked the creek that abuts the north edge of the Monarch Butterfly Preserve, as well as the Pismo Creek mouth, but there was nothing of note at either spot.

Kevin J. Zimmer

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