Thursday 28 June 2018

Northern Ontario Adventures: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher!

Ken and I had only been on the road for a few hours, on our way back from an awesome week in Northern Ontario doing dragonfly surveys, when we stumbled across the best find of the trip: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher! We had just passed Terrace Bay, along the shore of Lake Superior when Ken and I spotted a bird perched on the wires along Hwy 17.  As it got closer we both realized what we were looking at, and after a few expletives, screeched to a halt on the side of the highway.  We turned around and were afforded great looks at this wonderful bird, the first I have ever seen in Ontario! Mike, who was driving back in a separate vehicle just ahead of us missed the bird at first pass but we frantically called him and he came back and saw it too.

This bird has a wonderfully long tail that in flight splits apart like the blades on a scissor, hence, the name.  We enjoyed great views for approximately 15 minutes before it flew high across the highway and into a spruce tree before disappearing.

This is a very rare species in Ontario that typically breeds from Texas north to Nebraska in grasslands.  I sure didn't expect to see it on the side of a densely forested highway at the end of June in Northern Ontario! 

What a great capstone on an amazing week! I have lots more material from our stop in Rainy River to our dragon hunting on the rivers near Thunder Bay, so stay tuned!

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