Date: 10/27/17 7:17 am From: Nicholas Mrvelj <nickmrvelj...> Subject: [obol] Re: Provenance of the Portland gnatcatcher
Hello all - I don't have too much to add about this bird that hasn't already been said. Thank you Jay for the thorough outline and detailed explanation, and others for contributing very useful bits of details and information.
In all, I heard the gnatcatcher vocalize four times. Having listened to about 10 recordings of each subspecies, I've concluded the bird I heard was a much better fit for the eastern subspecies (caerulea). I almost want to say and ead ringer. That being said, I agree with Jay that there was a bit of variance in the western subspecies (obscura) recordings that I heard, but I didn't hear too much overlap with caerulea, at least to my ears.
I, too, attempted to get a recording of the bird, but was greeted with utter silence for my efforts.
In terms of the paleness of the belly and under parts, I am in the camp of appreciating the difficulty of applying such field marks, especially given the conditions for viewing this bird.
I didn't get to study the spread tail as I didn't mentally note the visual depiction of the fanned out tail (nor do I feel the bird presented such a view even if that ID had been on my radar).
Finally, as Jeff and others have commented on, there's the habitat issue. The entire time I viewed this bird, it never came down less than ~30 feet from the ground. At one point, it climbed nearly to the top of a cottonwood.
All in all, I'm strongly leaning toward caerulea based primarily on the vocalizations I heard, but wish I had some more documentation to back this up.