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!