Gray Flycatcher

phil Pryde

Can't recall if there has been any reports yet this fall migration period of Gray Flycatcher, but I believe there has been one visiting my back yard (in the San Carlos area) the past few days. I first saw it on Monday but only for a few seconds, but that was long enough to notice that it had the Empidonax tear-drop eye ring, was gray all over (lighter on the underside, of course; no hint of any yellow anywhere), and most importantly seemed to be dipping its tail downward. I mentally labeled it a "maybe" GRFL, hoping it would come back for a longer look. Didn't see it on Tuesday, but at 10:30 this morning (Wed.) it was back, and kept flycatching bugs around my back yard long enough to get a good look. I'm pretty sure it was the same individual: Gray on back (no greenish hue, etc., no yellow tint anywhere), and this time I got a good side view of the bill, which was longish (for an Empid.) and very yellow on the lower mandible. I watched it land after several bug elimination forays, and each time it dipped its tail downward 2-3 times. It never twitched it upwards (that is, higher than its resting position). It never vocalized. I know Unitt says it's rare in the county west of the desert, but GRFL has apparently been recorded in the county as early as August 24 (p. 341). Based on today's close observation, I feel pretty comfortable that it was most likely a Gray.
Any thoughts or comments?
Phil Pryde
San Diego

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