Tropical Kingbird at the SB Bird Refuge

Mark Holmgren <holmgren@...>

Dick Norton, Topanga, CA ae327@... submitted the report below of a
TK at the BR. Following that is response from Paul Lehman. Karen exhorts
us to find a Couch's Kingbird!
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
Tropical Kingbird - Santa Barbara - July 25, 1999

After a day of birding Santa Barbara County, Jim Abernathy, Colin Rogers
of South Australia, and Richard Norton stopped at the Andree Clark Bird
Refuge. We walked westward, along the trail north of the lake. JA and
CR were sitting at the next to last overlook, when CR asked, "What is that
yellow bird?"

There was a kingbird across the water, on the northwest side of the
western-most large island. It was several hundred feet away.

JA replied, "It looks like a Tropical Kingbird."

JA called RN, who was farther west, on the radio. RN looked at the bird
with binoculars. RN saw a very bright yellow kingbird, but was not
ready to agree to the ID, because it seemed too far out of season.

RN walked back to the car, and retrieved a Kowa TSN-4 scope with a 20-
60 power eyepiece. The bird remained in the same area.

All three observers were now between the last two overlooks, east of
the small bridge, near the end of the east-west path, at a location closest
to the bird. The sunlight was quite favorable, being no more than 45
degrees off of directly behind us. There was no significant heat
distortion in the scope view.

The bird was a kingbird, with a dark back and very bright yellow breast
and belly. The yellow came farther up the breast than it would in a
Cassin's Kingbird.

The bill was dark, and noticably larger than that of a Cassin's or
Western Kingbird.

The forked tail was seen very well. It had no white on either the edges
or tips. The rectrix lengths tapered in length toward the center. R1
was shorter than R2, which was shorter than R3, ..., on both sides. The
forked appearance was not due to a missing rectrix.

We did not hear the bird call or sing.

We have not eliminated Couche's Kingbird from what we observed.

This description was written by Richard Norton from memory, after
talking with Jim Abernathy. It has been reviewed by Colin Rogers.

Yours truly,

Dick Norton, Topanga, CA ae327@...
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
From: Shawneen Finnegan/Paul Lehman <lehmfinn@...>
To: Karen Bridgers <kbridgers@...>
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 1999 1:05 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Fw: Some Santa Barbara Bird Sightings - July 25, 1999


The kingbird report seems credible to me, and folks should try to refind it if
possible. Remember that Brad Hines photographed a mid-summer Tropical near
Lompoc last year or the year before, and there is also a summer record for the
Farallones, so this record would not be without precedent. Of course, if the
bird remained silent, it would probably be best to leave it as a
Tropical/Couch's--as the observers note as well--given the very odd time of
year. Given multiple observers saw the bird and agree with the description, it
has more credence than an unknown single-observer sight record would have.
Aren't Virginia Rails assumed/known to nest periodically at LLC? I would think
they would.
* Mark Holmgren, Associate Director 805 893-4098 office
* Museum of Systematics and Ecology 805 893-4724 dept. fax
* Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
* University of California
* Santa Barbara, CA 93106 holmgren@...

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