HIDDEN IDENTITY - PHOTO CHALLENGE

May 25, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

     While going through thousands of images taken over the last month, I came across a bird that I could not identify.  It was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park on May 14. 

     It's an Empidonax flycatcher that I thought was a Willow Flycatcher when I saw it, perhaps because they are resident birds, commonly seen and heard there in the spring and summer. The problem is that it wasn't singing, and I was busy trying to photograph it so I didn't study the details (not that I would be confident identifying it based on sight alone anyway). After reviewing the following two marginal images, I'm not sure the bird was a Willow Flycatcher. 

The bird in the picture has a brighter and more prominent eye-ring than Willow Flycatchers are supposed to. Based on field guide descriptions of the eye-ring, head shape and wing projection, I think Acadian Flycatcher can be eliminated.  It looks a bit too elongated, with a longer bill than a Least Flycatcher, which leaves the Willow /Alder (virtually identical) Traill's Flycatcher conundrum. If anyone feels more confident calling it or has a better educated guess than I do, please let me know.

Here are some reference shots of the four species;ACADIAN FLYCATCHER 10-05-2824178

Acadian FlycatcherALDER FLYCATCHER 10-06-0324689

Alder FlycatcherLEAST FLYCATCHER 11-05-1336550

Least FlycatcherWILLOW FLYCATCHER 10-06-2625839B

Willow Flycatcher

 


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