Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Mile Square Park, Fountain Valley
Orange County, California
27 February 2000
Joseph Morlan

Today, Robbie Fischer and I decided to check the lake at the southeast corner of Mile Square Park to look for the Dusky-capped Flycatcher and Eastern Phoebe reported there this winter. Robbie quickly found the Eastern Phoebe, but it took about an hour before I heard the distinctive faint plaintive "wheer" note whistle coming from a large Sycamore adjacent to the drainage ditch on the north side of the lake. This sound was somewhat ventriloqual, sounding much more distant than it really was. I located the Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and we got excellent views of the bird for 10 to 15 minutes.

The following is based on notes taken during and immediately after the observation:

It was a small Myiarchus with a yellow breast and belly, contrasting moderately with a pale gray throat. The throat blended with a darker gray face that contrasted with a much darker cap and slightly bushy crest. The bill was dark, fairly narrow and relatively long.

The back was brown, slightly paler and with a slightly grayish cast to the upper back. The wings were brown with the primaries and secondaries edged rufous. The inner tertials were edged with grayish-white, and the greater and median coverts were tipped with grayish-white forming faint wing-bars. The tail was dark brown with a strong orange-rufous edge to the bases of the outer rectrices. The eyes and legs were dark.

This is the first Dusky-capped Flycatcher I have seen in Orange County, but is one of at least three individuals known to be wintering in Southern California this year.