On August 27th, I wrote about my rewarding experience photographing a juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Willow Slough at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Just two days later, on August 29th, I had the good fortune to spot another young flycatcher at the refuge, this time in the Sandtown parking area.

Close up photograph of a juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher perched on a metal fence

Close up Photograph of a Juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Perched on a Metal Fence

Unlike the bird I photographed earlier in the week, this flycatcher had perched on a pipe fence rather than a natural tree branch. Though I generally prefer more natural looking perches, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to photograph one of these birds up close. This one allowed me to slowly drive my truck quite close, giving me a prime vantage point.

As you can see in the photo, this is clearly a very young flycatcher, evidenced by its short tail feathers which have not yet grown to full adult length. But it already shows the distinctive scissor-like shape the bird is named for. I feel lucky to have captured photos of these fledglings before they depart the refuge for their migration south in the coming weeks.

Photographing wildlife often requires flexibility – you have to be ready to take advantage of whatever circumstances allow you to get nearest your subject. Though not a picturesque natural perch, the pipe fence allowed me views of this young flycatcher I may not have otherwise achieved. I can only hope it and its sibling I photographed last week have safe journeys when they eventually leave the refuge. Capturing them at this early stage in life was a uniquely special wildlife encounter.

Through my lens, I find beauty, drama and poetry in the wild places and creatures of our planet.

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer

Equipment Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM

Technical Details:

  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: August 29, 2023 (08:42 A. M.)
  • Program Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f8
  • Shutter speed: 1/800
  • ISO: 400 (Auto)
  • Exp. Comp.: +0.3
  • Focal Length: 500 mm