Satin Flycatcher in Rangeville

Should be a great year for waterbirds so let's go for broke - 250 spp for 2011.

Moderator: Mick Atzeni

Post Reply
Rod Hobson
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:03 am

Satin Flycatcher in Rangeville

Post by Rod Hobson » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:15 pm

Folks,

Yesterday afternoon, about 3.15pm. I was in our front yard in Webb Street when a flycatcher flew into our Gingko tree alighting about five metres off. Initially I thought it a male Leaden Flycatcher; a species that is an irregular visitor to our house yard. But his 'jizz' was all wrong and I quickly saw him for the rarity he was, my first ever record of a Satin Flycatcher for our yard and only one of a handful of this species that I've ever recorded.

Separating Leaden and Satin Flycatchers can cause a lot of angst among birdwatchers but I reckon that once you see a resplendent adult male Satin Flycatcher there is no mistaking him. Juveniles and females are another matter altogether. The first thing that strikes me is that the Satin Flycatcher is a larger and stockier bird. This is confirmed in HANZAB that gives the length of the Satin at 17.5 cms vs. 15.0cm in the Leaden. Between the adult males of both species the intensity of colour is quite different. The adult male Satin Flycatcher is a 'satin' flycatcher whereas the adult male Leaden Flycatcher is a 'plumbeous' flycatcher, if you get my drift. The dark plumage to white is much more contrasting and stark in the Satin Flycatcher male.

I watched the bird for about five minutes clearly, closely and from all angles until he was seen-off by a couple of obstreperous Brown Honeyeaters. Another feature, also mentioned in HANZAB and that I clearly observed yesterday refers to the demarcation line across the breast of these birds. In the Satin Flycatcher male the edge of the black colouring is clearly concave but in the male Leaden Flycatcher this line is convex. This is a good field mark but you need to observe the individual head-on to see this feature properly. And I did.

I looked for the bird for another half hour after the initial sighting, and also early this morning, but didn't see him again. I hope he hangs around for a while, as this is the best bird that I've recorded for our suburban house yard in the years we've lived here. He clearly eclipses the Rufous Songlark that set up residence in our yard for a few days quite many years ago now.

Regards,
Rod Hobson

Post Reply

Return to “The Challenge - 2011”