Flycatcher, Lake Tahoe, California (1 Viewer)

djleahy

Well-known member
I got a number of shots of this guy on Sunday (June 22, 2008) on Mardis Peak, near Lake Tahoe, California. Sadly, I never was able to get close enough for a decent shot. Elevation about 7000 feet; aspen trees mixed in with the pines. I think it's a Western Wood-Pewee based on the long primaries, lack of conspicuous wingbars, and a bit of a fork in the tail, but I'd love to hear what the experts think.
 

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The Falcon

Registered Birder
I agree with Western Wood-Pewee - short legs, no eyering or only a faint one, long primary projection.
 

Bird Hard 2

Cynical Sceptic
My initial thought was Olive-sided, what with the wide base to the bill, dark sides and mottled under-tail coverts. Admittedly, you can't see any white 'tufts' on the side of the rump, but they're not always visible.
Does WWP have such a broad bill base?
 

jforb

Active member
Head doesn't look big enough for Olive-sided. I think the dark sides are exaggerated a bit in the photo (and aren't wrong for Wood-Pewee).
 

birderbf

Wild, Wild West ................... ern Spindalis
Interesting bird. Western Wood-Pewee for me, but not 100% obvious IMO.

Pro Olive-sided:
- pronounced white throat
- heavy overall?
- no wingbars to speak of

Pro Western Wood-Pewee:
- yellow belly (fresh OSFL?)
- streakless gray vest (probably most important feature?)
 

djleahy

Well-known member
Thanks for the input. I watched him for about ten minutes, I didn't see any sign of the tufts of an Olive-sided. He did like to perch at the very top of his roost trees, which is an Olive-sided habit if I recall correctly; but probably fine for Wood-pewee too, right? He also seemed small, but I don't much trust sense of size in the field as it seems to be unreliable.

The light was from bright sun fairly straight overhead so it made shooting the treetop bird difficult. Nothing like birding at the Solstice near high noon!
 

atricapillus

Well-known member
Interesting bird. Western Wood-Pewee for me, but not 100% obvious IMO.

Pro Olive-sided:
- pronounced white throat
- heavy overall?
- no wingbars to speak of

Pro Western Wood-Pewee:
- yellow belly (fresh OSFL?)
- streakless gray vest (probably most important feature?)
________________________
Howdy,
Western Wood-Pewee seems to be the logial concensus here. Among other features in favor of such are the long primary extensions (a pewee characteristic in general). Also the long tail, and small head. OSFL will look large, but stubbier by comparison--short tail and large blocked head.
Good, even by sillouette.
CHEERS, JOE G
 

fugl

Well-known member
I watched him for about ten minutes.. . .He did like to perch at the very top of his roost trees, which is an Olive-sided habit if I recall correctly; but probably fine for Wood-pewee too, right?

I take all the points that others have made regarding the ID of this bird, but I am still not entirely convinced that it's a Western Wood Pewee.

Western Wood Pewees do certainly perch at the tops of trees occasionally, but indulging in this behavior for 10 minutes at a stretch in my experience is unusual for that species which typically keeps to the mid-story. OS Flycatchers, on the other hand, are characteristically found on high perches. The "unbottoned vest" displayed on photo 4 is also to my mind more consistent with OS Flycatcher than with WW Pewee (though the latter can show this feature also but normally not as distinctly), as is the comparatively heavy bill.

With regard to the dark sides ("unbottoned vest"), the posted version of photo 4 doesn't show any streaking. What about the original photo, does it show more detail in these areas and, if so, is there streaking?
 

djleahy

Well-known member
I take all the points that others have made regarding the ID of this bird, but I am still not entirely convinced that it's a Western Wood Pewee.

Western Wood Pewees do certainly perch at the tops of trees occasionally, but indulging in this behavior for 10 minutes at a stretch in my experience is unusual for that species which typically keeps to the mid-story. OS Flycatchers, on the other hand, are characteristically found on high perches. The "unbottoned vest" displayed on photo 4 is also to my mind more consistent with OS Flycatcher than with WW Pewee (though the latter can show this feature also but normally not as distinctly), as is the comparatively heavy bill.

With regard to the dark sides ("unbottoned vest"), the posted version of photo 4 doesn't show any streaking. What about the original photo, does it show more detail in these areas and, if so, is there streaking?

I've got a few more uninspired photos to share here. I could also add that while the observed bird stuck to the tops of the trees that it perched in, there were much taller trees (pines) throughout this Aspen meadow.
 

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