Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ash-throated Flycatcher

On this day in 1984, an Ash-throated Flycatcher was found at Assunpink WMA in Monmouth County. Word did not get out for a couple of weeks, but the bird stayed until 9 January 1985, so many birders were able to see it (Boyle et al. 1985).

For a species with a relatively recent first state record, Ash-throated Flycatcher has quickly become an almost expected feature of NJ's avifauna. The lion's share of the 32 records to date are from the coast, most frequently Cape May. There are a mere handful of records from inland locations such as Assunpink (which got its second record of the species 12-16 November 2005). The December date of the first state record turns out to fall a little late seasonally; November is the month with the bulk of the records. Dates of occurrence run from 22 October to 12 January (no spring records), so Ash-throated Flycatcher demonstrates a marked season (although there are a few spring records from other Northeastern states). Many birds are one-day wonders, but some have lingered longer.

The relatively recent advent of NJ Ash-throated Flycatcher records is matched by nearby states: New York's first record was in 1970, Massachusetts' was in 1972 and Pennsylvania's was in 1997 (Levine 1998, McWilliams & Brauning 2000, Veit & Petersen 1993).

Boyle, William J., Jr., Robert O. Paxton, & David A. Cutler. 1985. The Winter Season, Hudson-Delaware Region. American Birds 39:150-154.

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