A couple of days ago I encountered an unknown flycatcher on a fence between Sham’s Paddock and Jaye’s Pasture – which is about centrally located on our property, and surrounded by recently cut pastures. It was obvious the bird was a flycatcher first, by it’s body style and then by its behavior. Perched on the wire, the little bird occasionally tiled his head in observation. Then, drawing his wings up a bit, almost achieving a stalking appearance, it would take off to nab its prey. Often, that was a bug hovering just above the ground. But, the little bird also looked skywards and flew straight up to catch its snack.
I don’t know what species this flycatcher is, but based on the fact it appears to have a light ring around its eyes, I am guessing it belongs to the Empidonax genus. The birds of that genus that would possibly be in my area at this time are the Willow Flycatcher, the Acadian Flycatcher and the Least Flycatcher. The Willow flycatcher is defined by both AllAboutBirds.org and the Audubon site as breeding in my area, and they could both be migrating through at this time. Neither the AllAboutBirds.org site note the Audobon site show the Least in my area during the breeding season. However, it may be migrating through. Both sources show my area as a common breeding zone for the Acadian Flycatcher. And although the birder experts have suggested I am not accurate in my evaluation, I believe that I’ve filmed Acadians hunting in the corridor area which sits between an area of mature trees and scrub brush and another area of medium growth scrubby land. Which ever it may be, those three species are quite similar in appearance and the birding experts tell me that it’s only by hearing their vocalizations that one can make a definitive identification.
What I do know is that I have observed many of these little flycatcher birds on the property all summer long, and I continue to be enamored by them. I’ve also seen many Eastern Phoebes quite often as well as heard and less frequently observed the Eastern Wood Pewee.
I can’t say they are all exceptional quality images, but I believe they are worth sharing. And, if nothing else, these photos should inspire awe regarding the incredible flying skills of this little bird. Enjoy.
At one point, this bird was joined by another. I think it may have been a young E Phoebe. Phoebes are described as having all black beaks, larger heads and an absence of wing bars. If you would like to weigh in on the identification of the Empid or the second birds, please do!
With autumn the sound of crows and bluejays fills the crisp air. It is my favorite season in so many ways. But, the little flycatchers aren’t ready to leave here, just yet. They are welcome to stick around as long as they see fit. Then, I’ll just have to wait for their arrival, again, next spring. Come back soon!