After watching this little gem for over 30 minutes, Edwin returned to his nearby bungalow and Doreen and myself continued searching for other migrants on the island. Early afternoon and we found ourselves back at the dam and the flycatcher was still showing extremely well. I therefore decided to erect a mist-net along the fence where it was sitting and then drove it carefully along, rushing it as it landed back onto the fence but right in front of the net. The flycatcher flew directly into the net - bingo - what a cracker to have in the hand.
Needless to say, after taking the mist-net down, we immediately went to Edwin's bungalow some 5 minutes away and handed Edwin the bird bag. The shock on his face when he took it out of the bag to see the adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher. The bird was duly ringed, measured and I took a couple of pictures and then released back by the dam. It spent the rest of the day still sitting on the fence, but on checking the site early the following morning, there was no further sign of it.
The story doesn't end there. On the 19th September, 1997, some 13 days later in Norway at Turoy, Fjell the bird was re-trapped by local ringers and this proved to be their first ever record of a Red-breasted Flycatcher for that area.
This recovery shows that not all vagrants are lost birds and perhaps when they depart they continue flying out over the sea and are lost for ever, and this ringing record has been cited in at least three different books to date.
(Pictures taken by Doreen Cooper)
Red-breasted Flycatcher Out Skerries, Shetland
6th September, 1997.
9F7647 Adult Male 06-09-1997 Out Skerries: 60°25'N 0°46'W (Shetland)
Caught by ringer 19-09-1997 Turoy, Fjell: 60°27'N 4°55'E
(Hordaland) Norway 312km E 0y 0m 13d