Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Lake Merritt
Oakland, California
7 January 2002
Joseph Morlan

Photos © 23 December 2001 Calvin Lou
Today Robbie Fischer and I visited Lakeside Park in Oakland in search of the Dusky-capped Flycatcher which had been found by Lina Prairie and Neil Whitehouse on the Oakland Christmas Bird Count, 16 December 2001. Robbie located the bird quite quickly inside the fenced garden at the horticultural center.

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

It was a small Myiarchus with bright yellow underparts contrasting with a grayish throat and chest. The crown and face were brownish extending down to just below the dark eye and forming a small crest on the cap. The back was more olive-brown. The bill was long and pointed, broader at the base than at the tip with a faintly pale base.

The wings were brown with tertials fringed narrowly grayish-white, secondaries fringed reddish-buff and primaries fringed rusty. The wing-coverts were tipped with buffy brown forming indistinct wing-bars. Underwing coverts were yellow, visible in flight as the bird hovered overhead on one occasion.

The tail was brown with the outer rectrices narrowly fringed rusty at the base, not extending to the tip and visible mosty from above. From below, the tail appeared uniformly brown. The legs and feet were dark.

The bird called repeatedly. The typical call was a faint sad whistle, rising and then descending, but it also gave a somewhat stronger more accented version of this call without the descending part at the end.

This is the first Dusky-capped Flycatcher I have seen in Alameda County and it is a first county record. It was last reported 20 January by Jay Withgott.