[Tweeters] Volunteer Park, Seattle: Empidonax flycatcher (WILLOW FLYCATCHER?) not a Western Wood Peewee

Kevin Purcell kevinpurcell at pobox.com
Thu Sep 4 18:59:41 PDT 2008

I take that Western Wood Peewee ID back ...

Having looked at a couple more references (Sibley, Stokes and the
National Geographic) I'm now fairly sure that the birds I saw are
missing features that would make it a Western Wood Peewee. Namely no
peak at the back of the head, the underside was lighter than the
Peewee (no "vest" as in Sibley) and the undertail coverts were much
lighter (and not smudges as in Sibley) and the head was a darker than
the throat and breast.

So the birds I saw were most likely an Empidonax flycatcher.

My field notes also say "mid to short tail". I think that might be
interpreted as "broad tail" rather than "narrow tail". That and range
gives me WILLOW FLYCATCHER as the most likley possibility. Others
FLYCATCHER but all seem to not quite match my notes.

Ah, "The most peeweelike flycatcher" says Sibley at the top of page
326 on the WILLOW FLYCATCHER :-)

On Sep 4, 2008, at 6:15 PM, Kevin Purcell wrote:

> This morning at 8am to 10am.


> The migrants seem to favor the eastern side of the park first thing

> in the morning (more sun at that time in the morning). Quite a lot

> of bird song/calling today.


> Two different groups of two flycatchers (usual behavior and beak

> shape) high in the trees. Most likely WESTERN WOOD PEEWEE with

> green/gray back, darker head, darker bill, lighter underside, mid-

> length tail and wing bars. I didn't see an eye-ring but it was a

> long way away so it could be an Empid.

Kevin Purcell
kevinpurcell at pobox.com

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