Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Cape May Point State Park, NJ, yesterday by Jesse Amesbury.

Sometimes you just luck into rare bird sightings, especially around Cape May. This weekend, Ellen’s friend Elise is visiting, and while we were out sightseeing, we stopped at the Cape May Point State Park for a stroll around the area. As we walked up the ramp over the dunes to get to the beach I spotted some familiar birders looking intently at some trees about fifty feet away. One of them said, “You’ve come to Ground Zero.” I asked what they were seeing, and it was this Fork-tailed Flycatcher, a rarity in New Jersey, though one shows up in the Cape May area about once a year. They are generally no further north than Florida. We were lent binoculars and all had a look. Elise is not a birder, but as friend Michael O’Brien said, “This is a great one to start with.” It’s actually a better look than we had in this photo I pulled off eBird, but we saw it well enough. There aren’t many birds with a tail that long in North America. Pretty cool!

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