Friday, February 24, 2012

Hammond's Flycatcher

This lovely bird makes for a very challenging identification. The Hammond's and the Dusky Flycatcher are nearly indistinguishable apart from their breeding range and their call. When I saw this bird near Patagonia Lake where the species' range overlaps, it was in February, and the bird was silent...

Luckily it was also seen by some birders far more expert than I. After a few days of review they decided it was not a Dusky Flycatcher, as first thought, but was in fact a Hammond's. For my two cents, the Hammond's do seem to be a bit more yellow than the Duskies, but that's something I can only tell from reviewing lots of photographs, not from field-obersvations alone.

The soft grays and yellows make for a beautiful and soft composition, one that seems unique to the Empidonax flycatchers (Warblers and Kingbirds being a stronger yellow). This Hammond's was another one of my favorite sightings on the BiF Tucson trip this February.