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Kathy Mihm Dunning
Species, Date, Time and Location Information
9/10/2016 9:25:00 AM
9/10/2016 9:35:00 AM
Duration (total time in view):
Flagler Reservoir State Wildlife Area
bushes and trees along seasonal stream south of lake
as close as 20 feet
full sun; bird sometimes in sun, sometimes in shade
Description of the Bird
We observed the bird, clearly an empidonax flycatcher, on low perches for about 10 minutes. Observed characteristics were relatively bulky appearance for an empid; wide tail; olive back; long primary projection; high-contrast white and yellowish-white edges on tertials and secondaries; yellow/buffy wingbars (suggestive of a first-year bird); whiteish belly and flanks (little or no yellow apparent); slight gray wash on breast; white throat; grayish face; thick bill, dark on top and pale on bottom; and complete, narrow eyering. The attached photos are representative of what we saw through binoculars. One exception is that the eyering appears wider in some of the photos than it did in the field, as is often the case.
The bird flipped its tail upward several times during the 10 minutes. The bird was silent the entire time.
Similar Species Discussion
Since the bird did not call, its ID is based on visual characteristics through process of elimination. Based on the bulky appearance, wide tail, and large bill, we narrowed down the list to the larger empids: Willow, Acadian, and Alder. Willow was eliminated because it would have had an imcomplete / less well defined eyering. Acadian was eliminated because it would have had yellower underparts and a larger bill.
Sibley Guide to Birds
We also discussed the ID with Tony Leukering.
We observe empidonax flycatchers regularly during the warm season. I have seen about a dozen Alder Flycatchers in Colorado and a few more farther east. Kathy has been birding longer than me and thus has more experience with empids.
Notes made DURING observation
Date Documentation Submitted
2/4/2017 10:00:00 AM
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