The November Flycatcher

Say's phoebe, a handsome flycatcher of the American West, breeds from Alaska to Mexico; indeed, it nests much farther north than any other flycatcher in North America.  In addition, unlike most other flycatchers, this phoebe favors dry, open country, where it places its nest on protected rock ledges, under bridges, in tree cavities or beneath the eaves of barns and other outbuildings.

This morning, while making my usual circuit at South Platte Park, I encountered a Say's phoebe, perched on a fencepost near the reservoir dam.  Though it was a cool, sunny morning, many insects remain active along the Colorado Front Range; the mild, snowless weather persists and only a few nights have produced lows near or below freezing.

While other flycatchers have departed for southern climes (many as early as late summer), Say's phoebes are hardy insectivores, arriving early in spring and departing late in autumn.  Today's visitor is a bit later than usual and may be one that nested in Alaska; perhaps he'll stick around for a day or two before continuing his journey to wintering grounds in Mexico or the Desert Southwest.