King of the Tropics

On Oct-24, 2017 I texted Ronnie saying “hot, sunny, birdless” because it was. Ronnie replied “this is s**t”, and so a lovely but quiet October day unfolded. We were just leaving the hardware store when Ervin called, he’d found a kingbird that was much yellower than any of the recent Western Kingbirds in our area. He was going to send me a photo, one was already on the wires to Alix.

At home the photo arrived but from Alix, along with a phone call where one thing was discussed, the size of the bill. Firing up Red Dwarf and making calls on the hoof, we whisked along highway 103 knowing that we were heading towards either a Couch’s or a Tropical Kingbird. When we got there the bird had moved along Chebogue Point Road and I had visions of seeing a pinprick heading out to sea. Luckily this was not the case and we all spent time observing and listening for the tell-tale call, diagnostic as it would be.

The bird appeared nervy or perhaps it was just hyper-active. It fed in the manner of all flycatchers, eating flies! Getting light-side was difficult but we all accumulated a selection of shots, as diagnostic as they can be with this species pair. Although the breeze did a sound job of masking calls, the kingbird did give itself up a couple of times and we were able to compare the heard with the app. As the twitch went on the bird settled down and we got better shots, Nova Scotia’s first, confirmed Tropical Kingbird.


We birded around the end of Chebogue where a Lapland Longspur had fled but a group of American Pipits picked their way through the fly-ridden rotting kelp.


Later this Great Egret was at Daniel’s Head, they’ve been a bit scarce this year.

The day turned out not so s**t after all.



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