Rare sighting of Variegated Flycatcher draws birders to South Padre Island

A Variegated Flycatcher made a rare appearance in South Padre Island this week. Photo by Chuck Lorenz

A Variegated Flycatcher made a rare appearance in South Padre Island this week. Photo by Chuck Lorenz

 

Birders are flocking to South Padre Island today in hopes of catching a glimpse of a rare South American bird that showed up there this week.

The Variegated Flycatcher lives in South America, but migratory populations occasionally make navigation errors and end up outside their usual territory. That’s happened at least four other times, when the bird showed up in Maine, Ontario, Tennessee and Washington.

It’s the first-time known appearance for the species at Padre, where birders from around the country are now congregating.

The migratory bird is drawing birders from all over the country. Photo by Chuck Lorenz

The migratory bird is drawing birders from all over the country. Photo by Chuck Lorenz

“It’s my first time here – definitely the Variegated Flycatcher got us running here,” North Carolina birder Sherry Lane told South Padre Island officials. She had planned to bird in the upper Rio Grande Valley, but changed plans when she received an alert about the rare sighting.

Officials are waiting for the Texas Bird Records Committee to accept the report of the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center Naturalist Javier Gonzalez said he is confident that will happen, according to a press release.

“A lot of good photos have been taken and I think we have enough proof,” Gonzalez said.

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