Confounding Empid III


click photo to enlarge
October 14, 2011
I am not going to go into the painful details of the last few days about finding and observing Willow/Alder (Wilder) except to say that I have now seen several of them and another empid I believe was an Acadian!  I only got a quick view of a yellowish breast and belly and yellowish eye-rings.  I will also mention that I was surprised at how easy it is to see the Wilders.  After the first sighting I thought I would be very lucky to find it again. Now I have seen mulitple birds multiple times.
Today I was out by 7:00.  On my way to the parking lot, it occurred to me that I was missing the migration marvels on the San Lorenzo road by trying to identify a bird I probably never could. And...why wouldn't it be in other areas? Now that I knew there were a few around, who's to say it was only in the parking lot?  If I were a bird, wouldn't I rather be away from the noise of a hardstand work area?  Why listen to all that hammering echoing, metal clanking, horns honking and men yelling? As I'm thinking this I realize I haven't seen an Empid. The no-see-ums are feasting and as I get my spray from my bum-bag, I make an executive decision; I'll bird Kennedy Loop today. The migrants aren't going to be around much longer and I need to move out of the parking lot.. I even decide that tomorrow, I'll walk San Lorenzo road and try to ID the calico warblers going through.

In the reeds at the side of the road to the loop, a Wilder sits on a low clump of dead stalks. He looks at me and smiles, silently.
I go past the old church and head for the loop. I hear a Northern Waterthrush and sure enough, one comes out onto the road.  As I begin to enter the loop, a machine-gunned guard is walking out.  We recognize each other and he begins to talk. I know by his gestures that he is saying he has seen me walking around the forest, and I have run into him near the chruch a few times. He speaks no English and I still can't understand Spanish.  I wish we had a little town nearby where I could go and practicar.  If it is written, I don't do too badly, but I just can't follow when it's spoken. Anyway we manage to exchange as few niceties.  As we're talking a couple of cruisers come up for their morning walk around the loop, and then a couple more.  I realize that birding might not be too good, so I walk back to the old church/guard house with my uzi toting friend. (I don't really know if it's an uzi or a shotgun, they all look alike to me.)  I say hasta luego and head for the old complex on the San Lorenzo road.  As I turn onto the road, a Wilder lands on a reed stalk, looks at me and flys off. They are taunting me.  When I come up to the buildings, I hear a call that sounds a lot like the calls I've been listening to on xeno-canto (a bird call site).  I have played the Willow and Alder a few times in case I ever heard a call. I immediately turned on the camera for sound and start aiming at the source.  I'm looking through the viewfinder, but I know I'm not going to see the bird that way, so I let the camera hang, still on, and get the bins ready. A bird flys low onto the chain link and I put the bins on it--a flycatcher! A Wilder! I put the bins down and swing the camera up.  Got him!  He's far, but it's obvious that it's a small flycatcher and you can see the tail lifts.  I have the voice! 
I get back to Pergrine and download the video. I listen and listen and go online and listen to the taped call posted there, and back to mine.  I can't tell. I think it's an Alder, but I can't list it. I opened a youtube account and posted the video on Bird Forum hoping someone would be able to name the call. That was hours ago and I haven't got a response.
It's late. I'm going to bed.  Here is a link to the video.  If anybody reading can ID this, please leave a comment.
http://youtu.be/xqYbW0aM5sw

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