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Author Topic: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID  (Read 35768 times)

Aaron Gyllenhaal

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Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« on: April 18, 2012, 01:51:15 PM »
I posted this bird in a report yesterday and I wanted to generate more discussion. My brother believes this is a weird Least Flycatcher, but it just seems odd to me. I know this sounds crazy, but could it be an White-Crested Elaenia? In the first photo, you can see a white crest. My brother also has a photo showing this. My dad made a remark about it in the field too. The body proportions and coloring seem a bit off to me for Least. Is this just because I haven't seen an empid for so long, or are my suspicions justified? Please post your opinion and why you think so down below.

BTW Nathan Goldberg brought up the possibility of Elaenia in the original post.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 02:11:22 PM by Aaron Gyllenhaal »

Ethan Gyllenhaal

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 04:08:02 PM »
Here are a few more pics. The posture bugged the hell out of me in the field, and even more now...

Ethan

Steve Gent

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 04:09:43 PM »
Least is obviously more likely.  There is a record of White-crested in Texas.  According to Bohlen Least Flycatcher is the earliest of the Empids to arrive,  and about now is not so early for one to turn up.   

Greg Neise

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 04:35:16 PM »
I'm sitting here with George Armistead at an ABA staff dinner.He glanced at the photos and remarked, "looks like a Small-billed or White-crested Elania ... where was it taken?"

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Hedgehog

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 04:36:00 PM »
You have two pictures showing a white crest.  There's no denying that.  Exciting thread - I'm looking forward to hearing what the experts think.
Matt
Chicago, IL

Fran Morel

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 04:55:53 PM »
I can't weigh in on the rarities, as I have no experience with those, but it sure doesn't look like a Least to me.  Eye ring seems almost non-existent  and head shape seems off.

Fran

Greg Neise

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 05:02:09 PM »
Kenn Kaufman on Facebook: "looks like the Gyllenhaals found an Elania in Illinois"

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PatrickPalmer

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2012, 05:05:24 PM »
I think an elaenia would show less brown tones on the wings and tail and more of a dusky gray, olive green sort of scale. But, the possibility is still there and I'm no expert...
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 05:52:48 PM by PatrickPalmer »
Gotta catch 'em all!

Greg Neise

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2012, 05:11:55 PM »
Everyone at this dinner is now talking about this bitd: the worn comdition of the wing feathers supports an austral migrant.

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Aaron Gyllenhaal

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2012, 05:19:18 PM »
DIRECTIONS TO DOUGLAS PARK

This bird was found at the edge of the fenced-in sanctuary lagoon in Douglas Park on 4/17. Douglas Park is on the west side of Chicago, south of I-290 (take the Sacramento exit). The entrance to Douglas Park is at the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Sacramento Blvd. From that intersection, go south about 100 feet and when the road curves right, turn left.  Then, take the first right turn after that, around the east side of the high school. Continue down this road until it dead ends in a parking lot in front of the Field House. This parking lot has the Field House to the south, a pool to the west, and the main lagoon to the east. The fenced-in combined sanctuary/junior golf course is south the the Field House, and that's where we saw the bird.

Walk along the front of Field House to the west. When the building ends, curve left and follow it south until you come to a fence. There is an entrance to the sanctuary right there, at the corner of the building (steps go more-or-less over the fence). Once inside the fence, follow the path to the right until you reach the junior golf course. Look south and east and you will see a patch of willows and other shrubbery on the west side of the sanctuary lagoon -- this is where the bird was on Tuesday.

For the past few days the gates on the east side of the Field House have also been open -- that's another way to enter/exit the sanctuary (but farther from where we saw the bird).

It was last seen on the far west side of the sanctuary lagoon, just south of the willows in a budding tree right along the water's edge. It seemed to be following the edge of the marsh to the south and east when we last saw it. CAUTION there has been an American Bittern there for the last 2-3 days, so try not to disturb it. Also, watch out for golfers!

We will go back there at around 5:30 pm Thursday as I have a haircut appointment (ugh!!).

My brother made a map
http://tinyurl.com/elaenia

Nick Block

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2012, 05:58:17 PM »
I'm just now seeing these photos.  Although I have now scanned through the comments and could be biased by them, I have to say that my initial impression was NOT Empidonax.  My first impression was basically, "What the hell is that?"  Shape is weird, bill is weird, eyering is weird, wing edgings are weird...I dunno, it just doesn't feel like an Empidonax to me.  I have yet to look up elaenias or other possibilities.  That white central crown is certainly suggestive of a particular group, though.  ;)  Aaron, I recommend posting virtually ANY photos you have of the bird...you never know what might be useful.

Cheers,
Nick

chucao

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2012, 06:04:39 PM »
Congratulations guys!!!! This is an Elaenia. Having said that, it is most likely a chilensis White-crested, but the wear state and worn look is confusing to me. When I see them they are much less worn and more uniform looking than this guy. Typically they are greener looking, have more noticeable edging on flight feathers, and a bolder eyering. All of these features appear odd due to wear. It is not a juvenile as it has a white crown already, and a juvenile at this time of year should be relatively fresh (they fledge in Dec - Feb). The part that I like is that the primaries look real long, and most small elaenias do not have long wings. The Small-billed is also a migrant and has more greenish-gray look than White-crested, it is tough to separate from White-crested although it typically shows a third upper wing bar and is relatively shorter winged. The key is call!

Play it a chilensis territorial song and see what it does. here is one http://www.xeno-canto.org/59928

Also try the Small-billed territorial song, here is one of those http://www.xeno-canto.org/46421

Listen for calls. The WC has a sweet "weeo" call note, the Small-billed a rough, gravelly "prk"

Amazing find! Alvaro.

Aaron Gyllenhaal

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2012, 06:06:57 PM »
Aaron, I recommend posting virtually ANY photos you have of the bird...you never know what might be useful.

Thinking this bird was a Least Flycatcher, I deleted the other photos from my camera, like I do all the time. Sorry  :(

BTW because my dad is awesome, we are going to there before school tomorrow too. Hope to see others there.

Ryan Sanderson

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2012, 06:13:48 PM »
If you haven't shot photos on that memory card again, there is a possibility that you can recover some of the photos with a recovery program, but there's no guarantee.  I erased a whole memory card worth of shots I took in California a few years ago and found this solution, but decided I probably didn't have anything I wanted to spend $30 or so on to recover.

Nick Block

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Re: Flycatcher or Elaenia ID
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2012, 06:14:59 PM »
Yep, what Ryan said.  I think there's a decent chance you could recover something.  See you out there tomorrow morning!

-Nick

 

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