Alder Flycatcher

Empidonax alnorum


eBird Checklist S46514564
Westside Rd. at Parker Ridge Burn
Boundary, Idaho, United States
Search this location, Illustrated Checklist
Latitude and Longitude 48.9327, -116.5098 Map



Observation details

****State first, pending acceptance by the IBRC. Driving slowly with the windows down, I saw a Traill's-type flycatcher cross the road. Aware of the potential for ALFL in this area I got out to investigate, and noted immediately that the bird in question had a number of traits that I interpreted as highly suggestive of Alder rather than Willow, and especially rather than western Willow. Among these traits were: -The bird's decidedly greenish mantle (western Willow generally appears rather brownish), which contrasted firmly with its cool-grayish crown. -A round-headed (or flat-ish headed) profile, rather than the distinctly crested look typical of WIFL. -Dark, contrasting wings with clearly white, not brownish, wing bars. To me, this part of ALFL is more or less reminiscent of LEFL's wing panel, which is not generally something I associate with WIFL, who's wings are consistently less contrasty. -A bright white throat, also contrasted with the grayish auriculars. -Moderate to longish primary projection, similar to eastern but NOT western Willow, which generally has distinctly shorter primary projection. -A smallish bill for a Traill's-type. -A decently well-defined eye ring that would be on the far end of WIFL's range of variation. The combination of these traits convinced me to hang around and wait for the bird to vocalize. When it eventually sang it was, well, obviously Alder. Recordings were made with my phone of the bird's ree-BEEAH song and also its pip call (which it took FOREVER to make), and were minimally edited. Additionally, I got (somewhat shaky but workable) handheld video of the bird singing, and will add that after going through Macaulay. It appeared to be on territory, so will be worth checking up on as the season progresses. The habitat was a fairly recent burn with extensive ~alder~ in the understory, and nearby marsh access. I think that there's a high chance that this bird represents a sparse breeding population rather than a vagrancy, hence deliberately looking for this species here in the first place. Please refrain from using playback here- the bird is loud and should be easy to find, and will probably be visited by birders many times. The bird was working both sides of the road but mostly the western (uphill side). This checklist is more or less an exact location, but I also took a reading from my GPS: UTM zone 11 535856 5420129 Photos are placeholders until I can upload video.

Technical Information

Canon EOS 70D
Lens model
EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
Focal length
400 mm
Shutter speed
1/500 sec
Flash did not fire, auto
Original file size
5472 x 3072

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