Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2017-15
|Scientific name:||Empidonax alnorum|
|Date:||sept. 13, 2016|
|Length of time observed:||5 minutes|
|Location:||Salt Lake International Center 40.7717257,-112.0115992|
|Distance to bird:||25'|
|Optical equipment:||binoculars and 500mm camera lens|
|Weather:||63* and partly cloudy|
|Description: Size of bird:||looked typical for an Empid. Hard to judge the exact size on a lone bird.|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:||flycatcher|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:||olive, brown, and white|
|(Description:) Bill Type:||wide convex and longish|
Field Marks and
This ID is 4 months in the making and I believe would be a first state record.
In the field my impression was Willow Flycatcher but the eye-ring did not look
right. Eye-ring much to pronounced. The bird also seemed more colorful than what
I remembered for any Willow. My doubt caused my to put the binoculars down and
go to the camera. After loosing the bird across the street I started to study
the few photos I had captured. I didn't know what to think but I have seen many
many Willow Flycatchers over the years and I was feeling it wasn't a Willow.
After consulting the books in my car I played with the idea that it fit Alder
really well. I called Bryant Olsen and told him I had a possible Alder
Flycatcher. He couldn't come right away but he went in the afternoon and
captured a few photos of what looked like the same bird but his photos were from
a lot further away.
The next 2 weeks or so became a debate by email. Bryant also sent the photos to a number of people. Together we settled on Yellow-bellied Flycatcher for all the reasons that were stated in the record Bryant submitted last fall. I had no positive feed back on my Alder Flycatcher ID and since there are no Utah records I easily gave that up. I have no experience with Eastern Flycatchers. Willow was suggested by some but the eye-ring is to pronounced and the green is to vibrant so I was not willing to call it that.
Fast forward to present. Kenny Frisch received this comment from Tony Leukering at ebird central, -"Alder Fly -- the bright white throat rules YBFL out in every plumage; tail is wide-based, upper parts are quite green; mandible is entirely yellow-orange -- there's really nothing else that it can be"
This was the first anyone had agreed with my initial impression in the field. I know this is a tough ID and my experience is seriously lacking with Alder flycatchers. My lack of confidence on this is very high so I have tried to rely on others who may have more experience with the Empids we don't see often in Utah. But I do feel strongly at this point that I finally got this one right. Hopefully this is a first state record.
|Song or call & method of delivery:||none|
|Habitat:||Austrian Pines, Russian Olives, and Cottonwoods over wet weedy half kept lawn.|
were they eliminated:
|All Empids lacking the all yellow lower mandible were eliminated. Willow eliminated because of eye-ring, color, and broad tail. Color, eye-ring, and primaries don't fit the western flycatchers. Yellow-bellied eliminated because even though in rare cases a photo or two on the ebird library did fit it, namely some appear to have the white throat, that ID may have been a bit of a stretch and forced. The white contrasting throat, pattern and color do fit Alder better.|
this & similar species:
|I have a lot of experience with the ID of the Empids we more regularly see every year and migration here in Utah. I have no experience with Alder Flycatchers.|
|References consulted:||NG birds of Western NA, Sibley second edition, Peterson Advanced Birding, and Kaufman Advanced Birding. Internet Empid ID documents. 100's of online confirmed ID photos.|
|Description from:||From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting|
|Observer's address:||12043 Bluff View Dr. Sandy 84092|
|Observer's e-mail address:||**|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:|
|Additional comments:||I will email photos to Milton.|