Bird #242 — Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

tyrannus (king) forficatus (scissors)

Tuesday, May 3, 1983 — 7:30 pm

Conway, Arkansas — Happy Valley Road

From the day I began birding, I lusted for this bird.  I missed it somehow when I was in Arkansas in May, 1980, and again in September, 1981 (although I thought at that time that I saw one for a half-second at Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge).  Sal’s family knew of my quest and enjoyed teasing me about it.  Philip had actually seen one in the backyard by the pond, and he took every opportunity to tell me about it.

This was a beautiful evening, and Sal and I took a walk after supper.  We hiked up Happy Valley Road to where it ends at Sturgis Road, then headed back.  Like always, I carried my binoculars along.  We were on the way back, still about 250 yards from the house when I saw Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, finally.

They were sitting on a wire fence along the road.  They flew out into a nearby pasture and landed on the ground on a small rise.  One landed on a pile of cow manure, then flew to another fence.  When they sat, their tails were folded.  When they flew, their tails fanned open.  They were as awesome-looking as I had anticipated.

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