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Am I Blue & Flycatcher - So Cal May (1 Viewer)

Matt_RTH

Well-known member
Long shots here but worth a shot.

Picture 1 appears to be a lone Western Bluebird. But what's unusual about this bird is that it is especially plain compared to other Westerns I've seen. I have Western Bluebirds in my immediate area almost year-round so I see them often but this seems to be unusual. Wanted to see if it could be anything else. This guy also seems significantly larger than other bluebirds I've seen.

Picture 2 is a flycatcher I think is an Olive-Sided, but I'd like it to be an Eastern Phoebe. Maybe I'm wrong on both counts?

Picture 3 is another oddball. This was literally the brightest blue of a bluebird I had ever seen. It was breathtaking blue. The photo doesn't do it justice. Again, I have bluebirds around, but absolutely none are this bright. Is this something else by chance or is it just a really bright one?

What's interesting on both of the BB pics is that they are loners. They've been in my "patch" for several weeks but don't hang out with the bluebirds in a close distance from where these guys are which congregate in groups of 15+.
 

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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Could no 1 be a worn individual and therefore a little more faded than usual?

Niels
 

KenM

Well-known member
Long shots here but worth a shot.

Picture 3 is another oddball. This was literally the brightest blue of a bluebird I had ever seen. It was breathtaking blue. The photo doesn't do it justice. Again, I have bluebirds around, but absolutely none are this bright. Is this something else by chance or is it just a really bright one?

What's interesting on both of the BB pics is that they are loners. They've been in my "patch" for several weeks but don't hang out with the bluebirds in a close distance from where these guys are which congregate in groups of 15+.

I kinda agree with Niels comment concerning Image 1.

Would have preferred more of a profile to image 2. in order to stick my 4 cents worth.

I've only seen Mountain Bluebird once and at very close quarters..briefly on an extremely misty, cold grey day at elevation, in the ''Sisters'' Oregon, and my breath was almost taken away with the ''intensity'' of Sky blue pigment particularly against the snow..perhaps the neutral light helped to over emphasise the colour. Presumably they don't hybridise with Western Bluebird..and I'm sure more learned parties could comment on that question?

cheers
 

Matt_RTH

Well-known member
First photo shown here is the same flycatcher at a different angle. The second photo is potentially the same bird, but it was significantly up hill and at a different part of the trail. But it was similar enough I thought I'd add. Now is that 2nd one an Olive-Sided?
 

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KenM

Well-known member
First photo shown here is the same flycatcher at a different angle. The second photo is potentially the same bird, but it was significantly up hill and at a different part of the trail. But it was similar enough I thought I'd add. Now is that 2nd one an Olive-Sided?

I believe the suggestion of a dark vest breaking at the flanks then resuming again below towards the UTC's..should be a good indicator of Contopus cooperi.

cheers
 

Silverwolf

Well-known member
Both of those Bluebirds seem pretty normal to me. I've seen a few slightly faded birds, but both of those seem to be pretty average Western Bluebirds.

Yes, your flycatcher is an Olive-sided.
 

guy_incognito

Well-known member
Is everyone in agreement that the pictures are of a single flycatcher? I know some of the replies are from those much more experienced than I, but to me it looks like you have two different birds in your three pictures.

The overall shorter appearance, very dark head, all dark bill, and relatively light coloring on the flanks of the first bird suggests Eastern Phoebe to my eyes. Anyone else agree/disagree?

Not sure on the second. Seems that Western Wood-Pewees can also have a fair bit of streaking, and the vest is a little more "buttoned" than I expected for Olive-sided, but it seems this is fairly variable as well.
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
My affirmation in post 6 of flycatcher #2 as an Olive-sided was only for the second flycatcher photo in post 4.

The overall shorter appearance, very dark head, all dark bill, and relatively light coloring on the flanks of the first bird suggests Eastern Phoebe to my eyes. Anyone else agree/disagree?
That bird does look like an Eastern Phoebe to me, which I don't think should be in SoCal this late in the spring.
 

Matt_RTH

Well-known member
The flycatcher on the thicker branch (looking to its left) was the one up hill at different part of trail. The first two FC pics are positively the same bird, if that helps. I figured they were close enough to share pics of both but nothing definitive to say they're the same.
 

Matt_RTH

Well-known member
Any other thoughts on this flycatcher? Migration is still in swing here though tapering off - I just saw an American Robin today, plenty of Orioles and a passel of Western Tanagers this week, just to name a few.
 

Silverwolf

Well-known member
My immediate impression of Flycatcher 1 is indeed a Phoebe but I wouldn't bet on it (not much anyway).
 
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