Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Podcast Episode: "Backyard Rarity, Part One"

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
3 comments
Western flycatcher. ©Bill Thompson III
On Sunday, December 13, just after noon, I was dumping a bucket of vegetable scraps on our compost pile next to our garage when a small, weird-looking, greenish bird flitted up from the brushy thicket in front of me. It was a small flycatcher, like an Acadian flycatcher, but the field marks didn't fit. In fact, the more I looked at this bird, just 10 feet away (naked eye—I wasn't wearing binocs) the more I realized that it was something completely different.

It had a rounded crest at the back of the head. It had an oblong-shaped, bright white eyering. It had buffy wingbars. It's breast and belly were a yellowish-green. It was flicking its wings and jetting its tail. Its large-looking bill had a pale lower mandible. And it was in southeastern Ohio in mid-December, when most North American flycatchers should be somewhere in the tropics.

The bird moved and I bolted inside for binocs, a camera, and Julie. We raced back out and, after a few panicked moments, re-found the bird. After some wild conjectures, we finally came to the conclusion that this was an Empidonax flycatcher. After we eliminated all the eastern Empids, we moved on to the western ones and BAM! Arrived at the western flycatcher complex, a single species that was split in 1989 into two distinct species: Pacific-slope flycatcher and cordilleran flycatcher.

And that's when the fun really began. The latest episode of my This Birding Life podcast, "Backyard Rarity, Part One," covers the experience of finding, identifying, and sharing of this rare bird. Give it a listen for free at Podcast Central, or on the iTunes podcast channel.


 This Birding Life is hosted by Bird Watcher's Digest and sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics and Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures.







3 comments:

On May 27, 2017 at 10:53 AM essay best said...
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