Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Flycatcher? Pewee? Phoebe?

I need help.
Well, maybe that's not news.

Lake Isabella has been a pleasant surprise this Spring. I have been parking on the river side of the park and warblers and lots of other birdies are hanging from the trees.
Blue gray gnatcatcher
Who was the first person to discover a blue-gray gnatcatcher? He or she must have had eyesight like a microscope. They are so tiny!
Acadian or phoebe or pewee
Okay. What the hell is this?
I have been pouring over my field guides, and I admit that this particular branch of the bird family tree is confusing to me. I felt better when I read in the Stokes guide that even "experts" have trouble with the empidonaxes and usually have to rely on song for ID.
Well, I didn't hear this one singing, so I am stumped.
At first, I thought Eastern Wood Pewee.
Then I thought maybe an Acadian Flycatcher.
Then I thought it kind of looked like a phoebe.
Each new picture I see, I change my mind.
Someone who knows what they are talking about has to help me.
Oh! I forgot to tell everyone that I got a life bird the other day on the way to a program.
An eastern kingbird! Whoot!
But I was too busy trying to find the group I was presenting to, to get a photo.
Nellie and the prairie
Geoff took the girls to the grocery store with him tonight (is he great or what?) so Nellie and I spent some time in the yard. It sure is nice to be able to walk through it without worrying that a snake or Jimmy Hoffa isn't going to jump up out of the grass.
This is the enlarged prairie. I would like to make it even larger, but I have to go slow and keep Geoff from freaking out about it. I personally would love it if all the grass died, so I could easily fill the yard with native plants.
Robins enjoying our chemical-free lawn
The robins came out of the woodwork when the grass finally got chopped.
I love to watch them probing for worms in our nice, chemical-free lawn, because they won't be bringing mutated babies into the world.
Who wants to see baby robins with three heads and that glow in the dark?
Martin still here
The purple martin is still here. And the tree swallows have been checking out the bluebird house. No nest building from them yet, but I hope they stick around.
We won't have to worry about too many flying insects, will we?
And if we get the new bat house up, the mosquitoes will be taken care of too!
I ate before you ate tee
"I ate before you ate, tee"?
Tee? What does that mean?
"See" would have made more sense.
Either way, I love it when people get creative with the seven characters the BMV gives us.


Mary said...

I think it looks like a Phoebe, but what the hell to I know?

You live in a nature wonderland, Susan. I'm glad you mowed the lawn for the Robins, though :o)

I can understand why you have so much to blog about in the course of one day! I think a man is at his best when he takes the kids to the grocery store. Go,Geoff!

Fingers crossed - Purple Martin stays. I wonder if I'll ever see one...

Mary said...

Hey, when I was commenting, I saw you had 4 current visitors reading! That is so cool!

mon@rch said...

3 viewers as I was viewing! My guess is one of the Empidonax Flycatchers because this bird has too much of an eyering to be a pewee or phoebe! BTW: Congrats on your kingbird lifer! They are such great birds and now I am dieing to get out to see some birdies!

LauraHinNJ said...

I don't know what I'm talking about, but that doesn't look good for a phoebe or a peewee - too big!

What have you planted in your meadow besides grass?

John said...

It looks like an Empidonax to me. The head shape, eye ring, wing bars, and whitish secondaries all point in that direction. That narrows the species down to about 4 likely possibilities. To sort those out, you really need the song. A few visual characteristics suggest a Willow or Alder, but that hunch cannot be confirmed based on sight alone.

Liza Lee Miller said...

2 viewing and you are at #96 on the Bird Ranking. You rock.

Can't help with your bird -- I only have Western Field Guides. :)

Love your prarie -- make it bigger! make it bigger! :)