Dusky-capped Flycatcher
El Dorado Park
Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California
January 10, 1998
Joseph Morlan

After success with the Yellow-throated Vireo at Westminster, Robbie Fischer, Andy Lazere and I decided to try for the Dusky-capped Flycatcher and Pine Warbler which had been reported at the northwest corner of Area #2 at El Dorado Park in Long Beach since late December 1998. There was some initial confusion as to where this place was, but after some exploration I heard the Dusky-capped Flycatcher calling. I noticed a couple of birders including Dr. Raymond Schep pointing in the general location, but it turned out they were looking at a flock of four Bullock's Orioles. I heard the Dusky-capped Flycatcher call several more times, but I had difficulty pinpointing the direction of the sound as the bird was something of a ventriloquist. The call was a mournful slurred peurrrrrr with a slightly burry quality, not a pure whistle like the somewhat similar call of Say's Phoebe.

Finally around 11am, Robbie Fischer located the Dusky-capped Flycatcher in a nearby tree and we eventually got superb, prolonged views as the bird flew about, actively flycatching and perching out in the open for extended periods of time. During our observation the bird continued calling with one variation of the main call, being a slightly softer and flatter version. Otherwise all the calls were typical Dusky-capped.

The following notes were made while watching the bird:

Obvious Myiarchus, slightly smaller and brighter than Ash-throated Flycatcher. The bill was quite long and dark, but showed a faint tinge of dark pink on the lower mandible when seen from below in strong light.

The throat, chin and lores were a medium gray contrasting with the breast and belly which were a somewhat washed out neutral yellow. The crown was dark brown blending with the dingy face. The eye was dark showing no sign of an eyering. The nape feathers were often raised, forming a slightly bushy crest. The dark nape contrasted with the olive-brown back. The tail was dull gray with obvious rusty fringes on the outer webs of the bases of the outer rectrices. The left center rectrix (left deck feather) was about 2/3 grown and appeared to be molting in. It was narrowly fringed with light gray.

The primaries and secondaries were fringed rufous, contrasting with gray fringing on the tertials. The innermost tertial was most prominently fringed. There were no wing bars.

The feet and legs were black.