Special to the PRESS
The fall birding season on South Padre Island is off to an incredible start, as it has just welcomed the Variegated Flycatcher, which is extremely rare in North America, to Texas for the very first time.
According to the National Audubon Society, the normal range of this flycatcher is entirely within South America. But the populations nesting in the southern part of that continent are strongly migratory; birds from that area sometimes make errors in navigation and wind up far outside their normal haunts. Such strays have been found four times in North America, in Maine, Ontario, Tennessee, and Washington.
Birders from far and wide are expected on the Island, as this is a very rare opportunity. Sherry Lane, a skilled birder from North Carolina, had planned on birding in the upper Rio Grande Valley today, but quickly changed those plans when she received the alert about the Variegated Flycatcher on South Padre Island.
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