Dusky Flycatcher at El Polin


Brian Fitch
 

David Assman, Richard Bradus, and I were talking and watching for a possible reappearance of the Black-chinned Hummingbird, when this bird first showed up on the low fence just north of the spring on the NW side of the El Polin circle, around 11:15.  It was clearly a large, long-tailed, gray empid, flicking its tail up occasionally.  It flew while we were still working through the characteristics, but it was either Hammond's or Dusky, as the body size, narrow beak, and weak wing contrast ruled out Least, and the upward tail flick and small bill ruled out Gray.  The bird remained in view on various perches, but was hawking a lot, and stayed relatively low in brush and small trees as it worked its way up the hill for maybe ten minutes.  We were not able to see in which direction it finally vanished.  It was silent.  While it mostly didn't present the short-tailed, big-headed look of the multiple Hammond's I've seen recently, it never gave us good views of the primary extension, only one brief distant silhouette in which they looked short.  And since the bill looked narrow and dark in field views, and several times the bird fluffed up the nape feathers to give a brief moderately larger-headed look, we left it as a Hamsky, with the hope that David's photos, once downloaded, would support our sense that it was a Dusky. 

Below are four of David's shots that show the narrow based bill, supporting Dusky over Least, and the pale lower mandible, short primary projection, slightly notched tail, and pale lores that all support Dusky over Hammond's.  I managed to miss this brief preening and yawn that David caught, and am really grateful for these extra views.  I'm aware that silent empid ID is subtle, so if anyone has differing thoughts, please address them to me privately, as I'd like to avoid a repeat of the 2017 empid fiasco.
Brian Fitch

E Flycatcher (4).JPG
E Flycatcher (7).JPG
E Flycatcher (8).JPG
E Flycatcher.JPG





On Mon, May 9, 2022 at 11:32 AM Richard Bradus via groups.io <grizzledjay=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
No Black-chinned, but David, Brian and I saw an interesting empid just above the spring. First impressions: Hamsky (either Hammond’s or Dusky) - did not vocalize.






Dominik Mosur
 

Hi Brian et al,

Nice find. My first impression on looking at one of the photos David sent me was of Hammonds based on the overall appearance - short tailed/long winged/big headed - silhouette ,  short stubby looking bill, greenish back, vested appearance. 

But looking at other photos of the same bird I’m not so sure. I’ve asked several other people who have seen lots of these as well and have gotten mixed replies from them.

Any other public comments on this bird are welcome.

Dominik 


On May 9, 2022, at 16:50, Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...> wrote:


David Assman, Richard Bradus, and I were talking and watching for a possible reappearance of the Black-chinned Hummingbird, when this bird first showed up on the low fence just north of the spring on the NW side of the El Polin circle, around 11:15.  It was clearly a large, long-tailed, gray empid, flicking its tail up occasionally.  It flew while we were still working through the characteristics, but it was either Hammond's or Dusky, as the body size, narrow beak, and weak wing contrast ruled out Least, and the upward tail flick and small bill ruled out Gray.  The bird remained in view on various perches, but was hawking a lot, and stayed relatively low in brush and small trees as it worked its way up the hill for maybe ten minutes.  We were not able to see in which direction it finally vanished.  It was silent.  While it mostly didn't present the short-tailed, big-headed look of the multiple Hammond's I've seen recently, it never gave us good views of the primary extension, only one brief distant silhouette in which they looked short.  And since the bill looked narrow and dark in field views, and several times the bird fluffed up the nape feathers to give a brief moderately larger-headed look, we left it as a Hamsky, with the hope that David's photos, once downloaded, would support our sense that it was a Dusky. 

Below are four of David's shots that show the narrow based bill, supporting Dusky over Least, and the pale lower mandible, short primary projection, slightly notched tail, and pale lores that all support Dusky over Hammond's.  I managed to miss this brief preening and yawn that David caught, and am really grateful for these extra views.  I'm aware that silent empid ID is subtle, so if anyone has differing thoughts, please address them to me privately, as I'd like to avoid a repeat of the 2017 empid fiasco.
Brian Fitch

E Flycatcher (4).JPG
E Flycatcher (7).JPG
E Flycatcher (8).JPG
E Flycatcher.JPG





On Mon, May 9, 2022 at 11:32 AM Richard Bradus via groups.io <grizzledjay=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
No Black-chinned, but David, Brian and I saw an interesting empid just above the spring. First impressions: Hamsky (either Hammond’s or Dusky) - did not vocalize.