Friday, January 29, 2021

Black Phoebe

I usually allow way too much time before chasing after rare sightings, giving the birds such a head start that I do not catch up with them. This Black Phoebe is an exception. This bird, presumably the same individual, has been reported in eBird since mid-November. Erika and I made two unsuccessful attempts to see the phoebe—the first time way too many people were on the Chehalis Bike Trail for us to be Covid safe. The second time, we could not find the bird. On 27 January 2021, I found it. The bird flushed from a nearby lake shore, flew across the lake, and perched on a cattail. This photo is amazing, considering the distance the phoebe was from me. 

In 2005, Wahl et al. wrote that Washington only had six records of Black Phoebes, but these authors wrote “additional records are expected, as this species is expanding it's range northward in Oregon”—this bird breeds from Oregon south through much of South America. These ornithologists were correct. Black Phoebes are now found north to southern British Columbia. This season a couple of dozen Black Phoebes are reported in eBird from Washington and even on Vancouver Island in BC.

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