Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Storm over but a number of 'empid' flycatchers still here--and my attempt supplemental feeding

When I checked this morning after my class I found 12 Gray Flycatchers in the same locations I checked yesterday. They were all actively foraging but not with much apparent success--it was still pretty chilly so not much insect activity. So I went to the one local pet store in my town for mealworms. They were out of mealworms but I saw they had crickets, which sounded like a better choice for this type of bird. So I bought their last 40 or so 'small' (pretty tiny) crickets. Then came the task of figuring out how to get them to the birds which do not allow close approach. I tried throwing some up in the air near two flycatchers in hopes they would see them wiggle on the way down--didn't look like that worked so I just threw a handfull next to locations I had seen the birds foraging. I think I saw a robin pick up and eat one of the crickets but I needed to drive to the other locations so couldn't just watch.
With the sun out today I got some better photos that show the field marks for Gray Flycatcher better--gray above and white below, very short primary extension, fairly long bill with flesh colored lower mandible but with black tip (shown well in middle pic), eyering and wingbars. An interesting field mark shown well in bottom pic but not often mentioned is the tail has "noticeable white outer edges (especially when unworn; most prominent among North American Empidonax)" [Birds of North America online}. And the very enlarged middle photo also shows that the tip of the upper mandible is crossed over the tip of the lower mandible. SeEtta