Monday, July 21, 2014

Rare Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and two of them, south of Florence,CO

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, the first in our county, was found my Rich Miller a little over a week ago south of Florence. I have been jammed with projects and then went out of town so had not gone out to see it. When I read last night that Mike Gaylord had seen two of them I got more motivated to go see if they were nesting as was suggested.
I drove by them a couple of times and pulled over a little when safe (narrow 2 lane highway with dirt shoulders) for a few photos but only saw one bird. I then parked in a pull-out over a hundred feet from the tree where the birds have most often been seen and watched--and it was an overcast morning so it didn't heat up quickly so I watched for just over an hour. After about 10 minutes the second Scissor-tailed Flycatcher flew into the tree where the first was still perched.
While I watched the flycatchers appeared to take turns watching the tree or maybe the nest in it that is shown in the pic just above. While this nest seems consistent with what a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher would build ("bulky stick nest" in isolated tree) it does look larger than those I read about.
But not only did the two flycatchers appear to take turns near this nest and tree but they twice fly after small groups of American Crows, as show in pic below, that flew too close to chase them away--it sure looked like they were defending their nest or at least their nest area. However I never saw either bird get into that nest or look like they were bringing food to babies in it--and though I checked it often with my spotting scope I never saw any indication that nest was occupied or that there were fledglings in the tree. It will be interesting to see what develops if they stay. SeEtta