Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Abilene Birding Club Tour


Right on the heels of us seeing our first Ash-throated Flycatcher of the season on Tuesday, we followed up on Wednesday with spotting a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, (Tyrannus forficatus). A beautiful long-tailed bird, white head and breast, with pinkish to orangish under-wing coverts.  In the days since, we have seen numerous of both species.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

In other news, the Big Country Audubon Society visited San Angelo Saturday morning.  Yours truly, was invited to take the lead and show them some favorite birding spots.  Linda White was my co-pilot and we welcomed John and Susie English, Kathy Hampton, Joe Thompson,Edna Ross, Joan Howard, K.W. Kingsley, Colleen Tiernay, Bera Johnson, Gerald McAnally, JoAnne Wilks, Linda Beyer, and Dan Sigmonds.  I hope I have all these names right as I am reading off off a hand-written list.  If there are errors, call 1-800-LindaWhite.  🙂  (That’s me, to the far left in the photo below.)

Big Country Audubon Club photo courtesy John English

We birded San Angelo State Park, The Bluffs pond, Middle Concho Park, and Spring Lake Park.  We were at it from about 9:30AM until about 4;30PM, with an hour lunch break at the Golden Arches.  During that time we saw the following species.

  1. Brown-headed Cowbird
  2. White-crowned Sparrow
  3. White-winged Dove
  4. Mourning Dove
  5. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  6. House Sparrow
  7. House Finch
  8. Ash-throated Flycatcher
  9. Osprey
  10. Northern Harrier
  11. Pyrrhuloxia
  12. American White Pelican
  13. Black-necked Stilt
  14. Northern Shoveler
  15. American Coot
  16. European Starling
  17. Greater Yellowlegs
  18. Great Blue Heron
  19. Red-winged Blackbird
  20. American Avocet
  21. Turkey Vulture
  22. Black Vulture
  23. Killdeer
  24. Snowy Egret
  25. Barn Swallow
  26. Great-tailed Grackle
  27. Pied-billed Grebe
  28. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  29. Black-crested Titmouse
  30. Double-crested Cormorant
  31. Cinnamon Teal
  32. Bewicks Wren
  33. Black-chinned Hummingbird
  34. Purple Martin
  35. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  36. Cliff Swallow
  37. Northern Cardinal
  38. Blue Jay
  39. Belted Kingfisher
  40. Eurasian Collared Dove
  41. Lark Sparrow

A great time was had by all.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

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38 thoughts on “Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Abilene Birding Club Tour

  1. After doing a lot of birding in Kingsville, Texas, while in high school, I gave it up when I got to Texas A&M. I just took it up again this past January. It’s a lot of fun when you go with people who know the birds from a mile away and can hear them and know what they are without even seeing them.

  2. I had not intended to comment on every post as I make this little tour with my tea this morning, but I had to stop here and say how perfect the thorny branch is to compliment this sleek and pointy bird.

  3. Four years ago was the first, and regrettably, the last time I’ve seen one of these lovelies. I loved watching it in flight. This is a stunning picture Bob! ~ Lynda

  4. Great shot, tons of birds in Texas. The best ones I have seen and photographed were a Cara-Cara and a whole bunch of Painted Buntings, I had a field day with those lil’ fellas. I found your blog from Bayphotos by Donna..:-)

  5. What a fun day for you and the club – and what a BEAUTIFUL picture of the flycatcher. What a spectacularly long tail! I’ve never seen one of those before.

    • Thank you very much, Shelly. You’ll need to come to Texas or Oklahoma to most probably see one. That’s the area that they spend their time when in the U.S.

  6. I spotted a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Florida after leaving a class and it surprised me so much I almost drove my Jeep into a ditch! They are such gorgeous birds I just wanted some images of them. Your shot is wonderful Bob!

    • Thank you, Mia. We are starting to see more, We saw two more today, so in a week or so I imagine they will be all over the place. That photo is one of my older ones, and I am glad you like it.

  7. That is a new species for me..great shot and the tail..I agree I truly hope some of your birds are headed north. Our feeders are empty right now as the local resident birds are nesting. Looks like you had a good turn out and folks were enjoying their bird watching. God Bless

  8. That flycatcher is a spectacular beauty Bob and you got a nice clean shot of it. 41 species is a good long list for the day. Hopefully some of those birds are on their way north!

    • To tell you the truth, Ron, there were so many usual birds that we didn’t see, I was disappointed. That list could easily have been closer to 60. It was just one of those days when the birds weren’t co-operating. And maybe, you’re right, maybe they’re heading north. Watch out for them. 🙂

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