Male Vermilion Flycatcher — The King Of Ft. Lowell Park
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Our heatwave is now into its seventh consecutive day of 110 degree + temperatures. Today’s high will be about 113. I, along with all of Tucson, am anxiously hoping for an end to this.
The other morning I made the short drive (about five minutes) from our home to Ft. Lowell Park. I went over there with the intent of meeting an old friend and I wasn’t disappointed. This male Vermilion Flycatcher believes that he owns the place. He’s as reliable as the sunrise, showing up on the same perches day after day, month in and month out.
In that respect he’s like all males of his species. Vermilion Flycatchers are territorial. They declare as their own a particular tree or cluster of trees and perhaps a street sign or a fencepost, and they occupy that territory for a long time. This is the third year during which I’ve observed this particular bird guarding his turf — a handful of mesquite trees and a large metal post — vigilantly against intruding flycatchers.
His territoriality makes him a pretty easy subject to photograph. I know where he’s likely to be before I even get into my car to drive over to the park. I just select one of his favorite perches, set up a few yards away, and wait. Inevitably he’ll show up.
It helps also that Ft. Lowell Park is heavily trafficked with dog walkers, runners, and softball and tennis players. This flycatcher is used to people standing and walking in close proximity to him. I was able to approach within 15 feet of this bird without spooking him.
Images made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII lens+1.4x telextender, M setting, ISO 640, f8 @ 1/1250,