Western Wood-Pewee

Contopus sordidulus


Willy Hutcheson
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eBird Checklist S46494717
MBA Jonesport CE-Roque Island
Washington, Maine, United States
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Latitude and Longitude 44.5666, -67.5285 Map



Observation details

RARE. Singing and calling, actively feeding. Sticking to one corner of a pasture, making forays around the edge of spruce-fir forest. Initially I heard the distinctive song and soon located the bird on a snag by the edge of a field. I quickly snapped some photos for documentation and hastily recorded its vocalizations on my iPhone. Once I saw that the bird seemed to be staying in the immediate vicinity, I obtained slightly better photos and some better audio (also with iPhone). In appearance, the bird was a medium-sized flycatcher, drab grayish olive above, with an erect posture, relatively long wings, notched tail, and peaked crown. Its wingbars were faint, with the median covert tips appearing even less distinct than the greater coverts, and its primary extension was relatively long, well past the tips of the undertail coverts. The flanks and sides had a grayish cast, with a paler throat and central stripe down the breast. The belly did not appear to have much of a yellowish tinge. The bill was relatively long, with the upper mandible dark and the lower mandible slightly dark towards the tip but mostly orangish flesh-colored, especially at the base. No significant eye ring was discernible on the grayish face. The legs and feet, such as I could see, appeared dark. In its behavior, the bird seemed very settled into the corner of the pasture where I first found it, and it was actively sallying from prominent snags, catching insects, vocalizing, and preening. Its primary vocalization was a downward slurred, almost two-syllabled, buzzy "brEEeeer-r," which it gave about every 20-30 seconds as I watched it. I also heard it give soft whistling "pip" notes as it foraged, and at one point, after I played a brief sample of a WEWP song with my phone, it flew overhead, landed and gave a series of songs and "pee-didip" calls, as if territorial (I did not playback more than three individual songs, as the bird was already very vocal and visible). I observed the bird for 1.5 hours, showed it to the landowner and notified several local Maine birders. NOTE: Because the bird is on private property, it cannot and should not be chased, but the landowner has agreed to allow a group to access the island in order to confirm the sighting.

Technical Information

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Focal length
215 mm
Shutter speed
1/250 sec
Flash did not fire, auto
Original file size
2816 x 2112

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