[Tweeters] Re: "Western" Flycatchers in Washtucna

Charles Swift chaetura at gmail.com
Thu Jun 21 22:22:23 PDT 2007


Wayne & all -

Just to follow up on this a but more.

To set the record straight, the Sullivans emailed me later that the 2
Western Flycatchers were observed in Russian Olives at Washtucna but they
were not singing or otherwise exhibiting breeding behavior. I would expect
any WEFL on territory to be singing and calling pretty actively. (Also I do
not think Russian Olives are very good habitat for the speices!). So they
very well might not be breeding and a follow up trip is needed to prove
otherwise. (Which I see Arch has now done!)

As to WEFL always nesting near water. It is true that they are often found
near water but I have found them many times in the Palouse and in other
parts of the inland northwest well away from water. I believe that it is the
shady, damp micro-habitat and suitable nesting substrate that is most
important to W. Flycatchers and this can be found in a variety of places
away from water. As mentioned previously, I have found them in towns,
homesteads, and rural residential areas on the Palouse where mature shade
trees such as (non-native) Maples are common. WEFL are in Moscow and are
fairly common around the base of Moscow mountain where there are homes in
the forest interface. I've also found them around rock outcrops, canyons
with or w/o flowing water), higher elevation canyons such as in the Seven
Devils, and a few years ago we found one in rocky sub-alpine habitat above
Lake Louise in western Alberta. It may be that in central/eastern B.C. the
most suitable locations are usually near stream courses.

Wayne mentions the central Columbia basin irrigation project as a factor but
of course the Palouse is all dryland farming and we have not been directly
influenced by these irrigation projects. I do believe that Western
Flycatchers probably have become more common in the Palouse region and have
benefited from human development as evidenced by the associations mentioned
above. Burleigh, in "Birds of Idaho" (1972), describes them as uncommon in
northern Idaho and rare on the Palouse.

I can't speculate on Red-eyed Vireos although we have had 1 or 2 pairs
nesting here in Moscow for at least the past several years (and back again
this year I've just learned from a visiting birder). Bewick's Wren spread
east into Idaho along the Snake R. before expanding north and it's not clear
what has caused this change which had started some 15 or so years ago
(before I arrived in Moscow in 1997). Lesser Goldfinches are now well
established along the Clearwater R. between Lewiston and Orofino, Idaho,
having skipped over a large portion of presumably unsuitable and possibly
some suitable habitat. It's interesting (and perhaps a bit scary) to see
these large range changes in such a short period of time.

thanks, Charles.




On 6/20/07, Wayne Weber <contopus at telus.net > wrote:

>

> Charles, Tweeters, and Inland Birders,

>

>

>

> I am quite surprised to learn that "Western" Flycatchers are nesting in SE

> Washington in urban areas and farmsteads away from the immediate vicinity of

> streams. I've seen them in the town of Palouse, but only right next to the

> Palouse River. In the southern interior of BC, although "Western"

> Flycatchers are widespread and fairly common, I've seen no evidence that

> they nest any distance away from a stream.

>

>

>

> I agree that the birds in Washtucna are much too late for "late migrants",

> so the logical assumption is that they are trying to breed there.

>

>

>

> If, as you say, "Western" Flycatchers are breeding more and more often

> away from streams, it would be only one of many changes in distribution and

> nesting habitat of birds in the Columbia Basin in the last 50 years, in

> response to the vast changes in habitat resulting from the Columbia Basin

> Project

>

> (i.e., irrigation from Lake Roosevelt). The recent advent of American

> Crows and Bewick's Wrens as breeding species in the area are two other

> examples. Even though some of these changes are fairly recent, I suspect

> that they may be a delayed reaction to habitat changes that began in the

> 1950s.

>

>

>

> As for Red-eyed Vireos-- this is another species that I've never seen

> attempting to breed outside of riparian areas, so if they are, it must be a

> very recent change. Warbling Vireos are much more likely to nest in urban

> areas away from streams ( e.g. in tall Lombardy poplars in Penticton, BC,

> where I began birding many years ago).

>

>

>

>

>

> Wayne C. Weber

>

> Delta, BC

>

> contopus at telus.net

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> *From:* tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu

> ] *On Behalf Of *Charles Swift

> *Sent:* June-18-07 9:24 AM

> *To:* inland birders; Tweeters

> *Subject:* [Tweeters] Re: [inland-NW-birders]Okanogan Co. birding trip

> June 13th-17th

>

>

>

> Ruth, Patrick -

>

> It is highly likely that the WESTERN FLYCATCHERS observed at Bassett Park

> in Washtucna are nesting at that location rather than late migrants. This is

> very typical habitat for WEFL in the Palouse region. They like the shade

> trees found in many towns and will nest on structures such as sheds etc.

> They can be found in Moscow, Palouse, Colfax, probably Pullman, and likely

> other Palouse area towns. I've even found them on fairly small, isolated

> homesteads/farm houses w/ shade trees. It's even possible that the RED-EYED

> VIREOS are trying to nest here. They nest here in Moscow in residential

> areas w/ deciduous shade trees.

>

> thanks, Charles.

>

> On 6/17/07, *Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan* <godwit513 at msn.com> wrote:

>

> Hello Birders,

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> Bassett Park at Washtucna,Adams Co.

>

>

>

> 4 Wild Turkeys

>

> 2 FERRUGINOUS HAWKS(observed separately from hillsides above Bassett Park)

>

> 2 Swainson's Hawk

>

> 2 Barn Owls

>

> 4 Eurasian Collared Doves

>

> 3 Willow Flycatchers

>

> 1 OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER(late date for location)

>

> 2 PACIFIC-SLOPE"WESTERN"FLYCATCHERS(late date for location)

>

> 2 Bewick's Wren

>

>

>

>

> --

> Charles Swift

> Moscow, ID

> chaetura at gmail.com

>




--
Charles Swift
Moscow, ID
chaetura at gmail.com


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