Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
Nearys Lagoon
Santa Cruz, California
Sat 12-27-1997

After having good luck seeing the stakeout Tropical Kingbird in Half Moon Bay and Rock Sandpiper in Santa Cruz, I decided to try for the Dusky-capped Flycatcher which has been present at Nearys Lagoon in Santa Cruz since 9 December 1997. I was joined by Ron Haaseth of Michigan, Adam Winer and Don Schmoldt.

We entered via the paved path from California Street off Bay Street and checked out the area where the fence is covered with flowering German Ivy. We had no luck at first and spread out covering different areas. I first spotted the Dusky-capped Flycatcher low in a willow overhanging the trail next to some wind chimes hanging by a trailer. However the bird quickly flew downslope and disappeared into the dense vegetation. I alerted the others and we concentrated searching this area for about 45 minutes when they located the bird low in some flowering eucalyptus just beyond the flowering German Ivy. It was there that I got my best views, although they were sporadic as the bird frequently disappeared deep within the vegetation. Viewing was with 8x40 B&L Elite binoculars. I brought my scope, but was never able to use it on this individual.

The following description was obtained:


This species is increasing as a late fall and winter visitant to California where it has become annual in small numbers in recent years. I am aware of one other report from Northern California this winter and three from Southern California.

This is seventh Dusky-capped Flycatcher I have seen in California. Others were wintering birds at the Carmel River and at Moss Landing, Monterey County; Pine Lake Park and Fort Funston, San Francisco; Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz County; and Los Osos, San Louis Obispo County.

Joseph Morlan
380 Talbot Avenue #206
Pacifica, CA 94044