It was with sheer delight that not only was I greeted by a temperate, mild, sunshiny morning, but to sounds of "Re-veal, re-veal" coming from the meadow, announcing the arrival of...
...Yep! My Alder Flycatcher, (Empidonax alnorum), and a quick referencing to last year's yard notes "reveals" that he's right on time, one of the later migrators.
According to Kenn Kaufman's Lives of North American Birds, "...many other kinds of songbirds have to learn their songs, but (Willow and) Alder flycatchers are born instinctively knowing the voice of their own species."
He's only passing through, as he does each year, and I could track his breakfasting attempts across the meadow until he was out of earshot. I was unable to photograph him, but last year he posed quite nicely for me. And there's always the possibility he'll be back before he moves on.
It's not surprising to have an Alder Flycatcher in the vicinity, for they prefer to feast in the thickets of the alder and willows usually near the water and along brushy swamps, and guess what? That's my world. And it offers him sustenance along his journey to a more remote, less disturbed habitat of similar vegetation.
True to its name, an Alder Flycatcher dines mostly on insects, but not exclusively flies! An occasional spider and a berry or two round out a most superb diet. They perch within the branches of tall shrubs and low trees and fly out to catch their prey in mid-air. Kind of reminds me of Mr. Miyagi in older version of The Karate Kid, sitting at his table, trying to catch a fly with is chopsticks! But I think the flycatcher has better success!
(A few hours later...oh, oh, oh! He did return, giving me a few minutes of opportunity to watch him flitter through the canopy of the stand of willows by my back door through my binoculars, but no photo opp! There's still hope!")
( Munutes later.....I felt like a cat in the window chattering at a bird I'm unable to pursue through the pane of glass! So off I went for a stroll through the squishy, wet meadow. I found my flycatcher, but he led me on an elusive chase. Again, no pictures. However, I watched a Willet land in a tree...
...took two blurry photos of a couple of Savannah Sparrows
(new to yard list!),
and came across this beautiful Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
I overlooked many other treasures as I tried to keep the flycatcher within eye and earshot,
but couldn't help but admire my blueberries in progress!
Just a note: If I wasn't familiar with a little birdtalk, I wouldn't
know that half of my visitors were there.
If you haven't already, I highly recommend purchasing or accessing
an audio CD of bird song.