Sunday, July 28, 2013

My First Fall Migrants

Despite triple digit temperatures, yesterday I found my first fall migrants on Lake Creek Trail. I was out photographing dragonflies, but I also recorded four flycatchers in the genus Empidonax. These are our smallest members of the Flycatcher family, and a few start to show up in central Texas in late July on their way south. They're small grey birds with wing-bars and eye-rings that catch small insects. Known by birders as "empids," members of this genus are so similar they usually can only be reliable told apart by voice. The first two birds I saw were chasing each other and making their "che-beck" call, so I knew they were Least Flycatchers. (This species is the smallest of the empids, and they breed up in the boreal forests of Canada.) Another was silent, and another was heard-only, but making a "whip" call that is not specific to one species. Here's the one I photographed. It has the big-headed appearance of a Least Flycatcher, but I just couldn't be sure.

Empidonax sp. - 2

Empidonax sp. - 3

Here's my complete list of birds.

And here are some insect and plant observations.

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