The Last of the Empids?

Yellow-olive Flycatcher
May 9
Went out at 7:20 a.m. Sunny with 30% cloud cover--fluffy white cumulus. My rain gauge from the previous night was empty and there was no breeze.  The flags on the boats in the marina hung straight down and the water of the bay was like a mirror.

I didn't see or hear any empids or Wood-Pewees today.  Have they all gone?

I found one yesterday and I got good views and heard it well.  It had an almost squeaky type 'whit' and I decided I had a Willow.  I was able to get  a very short video of the bird with a few whits on it.  I put it on the net, but didn't get a response.  I may try a few other sites and see what happens.  The video may not be good enough for ID.

So the confusing, confounding Empids are probably gone for the season.  I feel lucky to have identified both Alder and Willow.

I found a lifer today and I wasn't sure enough of my call to put it on my life list without confirmation. I thought I had a Yellow-olive Flycatcher, but there is a Yellow-margined Flycatcher that is very similar.
Yellow-olive Flycatcher
I post this terrible photo to illustrate one of the main points to consider in indentifying a Yellow-olive over a Yellow-margined.  The YM has a conspicuous white or pale patch at the base of the primaries and this bird does not show that. I will post a link to the Birdforum discussion because Chris Benesh put up a good photo and explains some of the differences.
I posted on Surfbirds first and after a few hours of no response, posted it on Whatbird.  When I didn't get anything there, I went to Birdforum.  Birdforum is where I usually go, but I am trying to spend time on Whatbird because it is a more North American site than BF is and I am on my way home (maybe). Even on Birdforum, I waited a few hours for a response. Usually within minutes an ID will be had. Bird forum and Surfbirds are really a great sites and there are many knowledgeable people on them willing to take time to help.  I recommend the site to anyone who has an ID question.  On BF, I got a private message agreeing with my choice and I had one of the members who has always been very helpful to me say he thought I was right.  About seven hours after posting,  Chris Benesh came on and confirmed.  Chris is a zoologist and professional bird guide who has spent a lot of time in Central and South America (among other places around the world). He has helped me with difficult IDs in the past and I was happy to see him appear this time.  Once again, thank-you, Chris!  Lifer #939:  Yellow-olive Flycatcher.

Link to Bird Forum discussion:

A link to Field Guides and a little about Chris:

Other birding sites that can be helpful:
I think I've seen the Yellow-margined twice in my wanderings here, but I was unable to get good enough views or a photo to list it.  I should be better prepared if I see it now!


  1. Congratulations Sue. It sounds as though you are having an amazing time. I am very envious! I would love to be able to spend some time just enjoying the natural history of somewhere like that.

  2. Thanks Nick. I love this place! I whined every day for a year and a half when Australia wouldn't renew our visas and booted us out(well, it was two years ;)) I think I'll need anti-depressants when we leave here.