Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Other Bird in the Bush: Ash-throated Flycatcher at Merced Falls

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I saw and got pictures of two new birds for my life list in a matter of a few moments from the same bush out by Merced Falls on the Merced River in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The first was hard to miss, being a bright orange-yellow Bullock's Oriole. After it flew off, I noticed another bird had landed, a little less brightly colored, but unfamiliar. I saw a slight crest so I guessed it might be a Say's Phoebe, but the wing color was all wrong.
It was difficult to tell at first because the bird was being bashful. The pictures here are out of order, with the first picture being the last one I actually took. The first pictures I got were of a bird well-hidden among the branches, as you can see above and below.
It finally popped out into the open, and a little research quickly showed it to be an Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens). It's a common species of the southwestern United States, but you wouldn't know it from my observational powers. They winter far to the south, in southernmost California and Mexico. I noticed in the pictures that this individual is banded.
Lots of birds coming up! There were the nesting Ospreys near the river, and some Flickers competing for the ladies on campus yesterday.

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