The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) is a rare visitor for the central coast where one was last seen in 2008 at Ano Nuevo State Park (per ebird database).  So needless to say, I was off in search of this rarity when I got an ebird email alerted of the flycatcher's presence at Miramontes Point area in San Mateo California.  Ebird is a citizens science project run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that collects checklists from all over the world to create a bird database for research (see http://ebird.org/content/ebird/).  The first time I searched for the flycatcher I walked around the area covering 2.6 miles over about 2 hours.  I was walking back to my car stopping along the way to talk with another birder looking for the flycatcher.  Then a guy came by and asked if we were birders and what were we looking for.  I responded that we were looking for a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  He said that he was from Texas and he sees them all the time.  After a little conversation, I explained that it was a real rarity for the area and we hadn't seen the bird yet.  He wished us good luck and off he went.  I then wished the other birder good luck and headed to my car striking out in finding the flycatcher.  I was packing up my gear when I noticed the Texas guy walking in my direction with a sense of urgency.  He got within ear shot and said he had just spotted the flycatcher.

 
Featured Photo 16: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm    Taken: 12-06-14 12:25 Setting: 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.0, ISO1000    Condition: Partial Clouds, storm ending

Featured Photo 16: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm    Taken: 12-06-14 12:25

Setting: 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.0, ISO1000    Condition: Partial Clouds, storm ending

 

So I grabbed my camera and we walked down to the bridge over a creek where he saw the bird but no luck.  I then walked down to the beach and there was the guy sitting on the beach.  I was able to capture about 20 images before he flew north along the beach.  That was it for the day but I was very excited in finding a life bird and one so spectacular.  It was very special to me that the Texan game back for me and I was able to see the Scissor-tail.  So thank you Texan and I wish had I gotten your name.

 
D7100 420mm (630mm FX), 1/800s, f/4.0, ISO400 Taken 11-19-14 11:28

D7100 420mm (630mm FX), 1/800s, f/4.0, ISO400 Taken 11-19-14 11:28

 

Since I didn't get any flight shots during the first outing, I returned the following week to try again.  This time the bird was on the fairway flycatching and I had many opportunities to capture the bird in flight.  The first day I was using the D7100 with my 300mm f/2.8 with a 1.4 TC for a 420mm focal length resulting in a 630mm 35mm FX equivalent focal length.  Since the bird was stationary I used an 1/800s, f/4, and an ISO400 to capture the beach flycatcher.

D800, 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.0, ISO125

D800, 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.0, ISO125

D800, 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.0, ISO100

D800, 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.0, ISO100

On the second outing I was using my D800 with the 300mm and I knew I wanted to capture flight shots so I set the shutter speed to 1/2000s.  A storm had just passed and there was a mix of sun and clouds but I wanted more depth of field so I set the aperture to f/5.0 and let the ISO vary since the light was contantly changing resulting in a ISO range from 100 to 1000.  The Feature Photo was a nice portrait of the flycatcher barely hanging onto a small branch and I was able to get within 3m of the bird to capture the shot.  Sometimes a second look will be as rewarding as finding you subject the first time and can be just a exciting.

 
D800, 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.6, ISO640

D800, 300mm, 1/2000s, f/5.6, ISO640

 

Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other questions leave me a message.

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