June 04, 2007

T-shirt weather

165 alder flycatcher
(total on this date in 2006: 132)

One of our great American traditions is the and all I got was this lousy t-shirt t-shirt (example here). Assuming I get the shirt, that's how I think I'm going to feel after birding this summer in Missouri.

Migration season is over, meaning few easy birds until the migrants return this fall. It's also hot and hard to see birds in the jungly woods. At least I can enjoy seeing dozens of great blue herons at Eagle Bluffs, madly spawning
(or nervous) fish (see video), and hummingbirds in the woods at Grindstone park.

long Grindstone Creek I saw an empid flycatcher, a family of birds with vast potential for causing nightmares. I tried to memorize its chip note, then played a birdsong CD back home. The notes seemed to belong to an alder flycatcher but since it could be a willow flycatcheruntil 1973 they were considered the same species (Traill's flycatcher)—I doubt I'll be listing a willow later this year.

A paragraph from the American Bird Conservancy field guide should discourage any further interest in identifying empid flycatchers:
"Science currently recognizes 11 species, distinguished by differences in voice, nesting habits, and habitat. Unfortunately, empids usually sing only at the nesting grounds, and migrants can appear in any habitat, making species identification impossible at times. Most species are so alike in plumage that their color varies more due to molt and wear than from one species to another. Few birders can identify more than their local nesting species…"


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