Tuesday 9 October 2012

Around and about

School is starting to consume ever increasing amounts of my time.

At the beginning of each term I'm out almost every day, even if it's just stopping by Columbia Lake, but now my eBird checklists mostly come from trips to the grocery store, and during lunch breaks.

This morning I took advantage of the remaining few hours of the car rental from the weekend to roam around Waterloo county. Didn't see anything too notable, but it's always nice to explore my 'home' county.

This Eastern Wood-Pewee was acting very subdued - probably due to the cold weather, and lack of insects. The reason I was able to get a photo was simply because it sat here for over a minute:

Flycatcher identification was once one of my worst areas (I'm still not that great). But Eastern Wood-Pewees are generally easier than the other empids due to a few factors.
Habitat is always helpful - thick forest, with tall trees, but obviously not enough to identify them!
Their darker colour is another factor that helps. Another good thing to note is that they have a long primary projection beyond the secondaries, and tertials.
In my opinion, they also seem to have a more peaked head (particularly pronounced in this picture) - but my field guides don't seem to mention that.

Flycatchers are almost all gone at this time of year (if you're in Ontario). If you check eBird (or below) you'll notice that only Eastern Phoebes, and Eastern Wood-Pewees regularly hang out into October.

You might also notice that many of the vagrant flycatchers seem to show up this month! Hopefully one turns up close to Waterloo soon - we're due for a crowd-drawing bird :p

Also check out the latest Punk Rock Big Year update!