Tuesday, August 6, 2013

MA - Common Loon and odd flycatcher 08/06

This morning, in between errands, I made a quick stop at Barton Cove in Gill. At the back of my mind was a Swallow-tailed Kite reported from Millers Falls on July 31st, a bird which I only became aware of on August 3rd. Despite lots of optimism and a beautiful fall-like morning for soaring birds, I didn't see any kites soaring whilst I was there. But, as usual, there were birds of interest, most notably a Common Loon in full breeding plumage which briefly surfaced in front of me and then disappeared just as quickly.  A few minutes later, the bird was in flight making circuits of the cove gaining height and ultimately heading south. Most certainly a bird on the move and a species which I don't usually see in mid-summer on Barton Cove.


Common Loon - adult in breeding plumage departing from Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA.
August 6th, 2013. Canon Powershot G10. 

A few minutes later, an interesting flycatcher popped up in the large tree right by the boat ramp. The bird had a notable downward flick of the tail, most characteristic of Eastern Phoebe, but on lifting my bins I was surprised to see a flycatcher that more closely resembled a bird from the empidonax group. Unsure of the species I fumbled around trying to get a few digi-scoped images before the bird flicked over the boat ramp and out of sight. My overall sense in the field was that it must be a recently fledged Willow Flycatcher, but I don't recall seeing Willows showing such exaggerated downward tail flicking before. Indeed, Gray Flycatcher is usually the empid most noted for its downward and phoebe-like tail flicking. Moreover, the bird appears to have an odd bill pattern with an almost entirely dark lower mandible which isn't a match for Willow Flycatcher - so what could it be? I'm a little stumped on this one and would welcome some feedback.

unidentified flycatcher - Barton Cove boat ramp, Gill, Franklin Co., MA.
August 6th, 2013. Canon Powershot G10 and Swarovski HD telescope.


Eastern Kingbirds remain vocal and visible at the boat ramp as they have done all summer.

Eastern Kingbird - Barton Cove boat ramp, Gill, Franklin Co., MA.
August 6th, 2013. Canon Powershot G10 and Swarovski HD telescope.



Gerry Biron and JoAnne Russo said...

eastern wood-pewee?

Matt Hafner said...


This looks like a juvenile Eastern Phoebe. We have had 2 broods hatch off our porch this year and this is what the juvenile look like the first few weeks. They also make these really squeaky calls that I've not heard at other times of the year.