For the second winter in a row and only the sixth time in recorded ornithological history, a Nutting's Flycatcher is visiting North America. This is the third time this rare Mexican vagrant has come to the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge southeast of Lake Havasu, and this is likely the same bird that stayed throughout the winter last year. This very vocal and yet very rare bird can be easily heard, and often seen in the cedar and cottonwoods near mile marker two on Planet Ranch Road, heading toward the Bill Williams River Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. For those in southern California, Utah, and Arizona, this is a worthwhile chase. This myirachus seems to love its territory near Havasu, and it's an easy find once you're there, but you never know when it'll leave and how long it'll be until another visits. Prior to last winter, the most recent sighting of a Nutting's was in 2008. So, it's time to go Nuts!
After a couple hours of searching, waiting, and being distracted by Canyon Wrens, I was fortunate to hear the Nutting's Flycatcher wheeeping about one hundred yards down from the mile two marker. Unlike some of the other, similar looking myirachus, this bird tends to stay lower down and farther into the trees--often avoiding the open perching at the tree tops that is preferred by many others.
Maybe this particular bird is just used to the attention now, but he wasn't very shy. I was able to snap a few shots and then help another gentleman from San Diego find his ABA area lifer number 500, which was pretty cool (of course, I didn't mention that this was ABA area lifer # 18,987 for me).
Lake Havasu is a beautiful site for some hiking, picnicking, and water-fowling too, so make sure you get out after this Nutting's while it is still around. This will be one of the rare and easier chases you'll make this year, and it's a great way to close out 2012! See the Nutting's before the world ends.