Date: 9/1/17 5:54 pm
From: Tom Crabtree <tc...>
Subject: [obol] Re: 2017-08-29 On The Road To Malheur NWR

Your bird is a Willow Flycatcher. Note the massive bill that has an almost entirely light lower mandible; just a hint of an eyering (unlike the large football shaped one that a "Western" Flycatcher would have; and the incredibly short primary projection.

It would be impossible to identify an empid as a "Cordilleran" if it was silent. "Cordilleran" and "Pacific-slope" Flycatchers used to be considered one species, the Western Flycatcher. They are identical except for voice. Most advanced birders in the northwest think they should be re-lumped. Most of these "Western" Flycatchers that have been recorded in Oregon are found to have characteristics of both songs. I have personally heard birds that alternately gave the male position note of both species. Pure "Cordilleran" Flycatchers are incredibly rare in Oregon, if they exist at all. I am told that there is a sharper division between the two in the southern part of their range, like Arizona.

Interestingly, I spent a lot of time birding in the Pullman, WA / Moscow, ID area over the last 7 years. Birders on the Washington side of the line invariably listed the birds they saw as Pacific-slope Flycatchers, while those 7 miles away in Moscow listed theirs as Cordillerans. I would be surprised if these aren't lumped sometime in the next decade.

Tom Crabtree, Bend

-----Original Message-----
From: <obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...>] On Behalf Of Jack Daynes
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2017 4:18 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: [obol] 2017-08-29 On The Road To Malheur NWR

Greetings from a traveling nature lover,

There are a lot of images connected with this story, one I could use some help with.

There were two “happy accidents” on my early morning shoot at the visitor center’s pond. One was a Barn Swallow that flew into the frame while working on a Spotted Sandpiper. The other was a Wilson’s Snipe that did likewise when I was working on Mule Deer. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

At the Visitor Center I encountered a small flycatcher, always a challenge for me to identify. Reviewing the images, I’ve called this bird a Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis), but if I have the ID right, it would be a bird that failed to read the range maps.
Willow Flycatcher would be a better call for the location, but I couldn’t get comfortable making that call. Perhaps someone with better skills than me could shed some light.

Be well,

-- Jack --
Wildlife Photography with
Emphasis on Birds
Poway, California (San Diego Co.)
N 32° 57' W 117° 04'
At 508' Elevation

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