It’s a Mystery

12 Sep

I spent quite some time this afternoon watching a flock of birds swoop to and from the trees of a local city park.  They were very busy–I thought flying after insects–and returning to large conifers to perch for short periods of time.  Even with photo evidence, though, I cannot tell what type of birds these are.

One possibility is that they are olive-sided flycatchers, Contopus cooperi, because of the grey and white markings on the chest that look like a vest and their enjoyment of perching on the top of trees.  But the bill might not be large enough.

And then there’s that yellowish belly.

I thought these might be the western wood-peewees that I saw the other day (if that ID was even correct!), but these birds don’t seem to have the exact same coloring and seem to lack a crest.   Wood-peewees are described as somewhat unsocial and today’s group was definitely a flock.

They could be willow flycatchers, Empidonax trallii.  Or western kingbirds, Tyrannus verticalis.

As you can see, I’m at a loss.  If anyone can identify these birds from these photos, I would be very interested and grateful!

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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Nature


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