A tame flycatcher, elusive monarchs, and more teenagers

We were just walking up the small hill on the road justs outh of the parking lot when several flycatchers caught my eye. I assume they were all migrating. they seemed quite tame, and as near as I could tell, they were Easyern Phoebe’s – which I understand is the last of the flycatchers to migrate. Here’s one cute little dude. Notice the yellow tinge – hat would make him an immature – the first of our “teenagers” for this day.

Eastern Phobe - click image for larger view.

Eastern Phobe - click image for larger view.

Eastern Phobe - click image for larger view.

Eastern Phobe - click image for larger view.

We saw our third and fourth monarchs in the past week, but they were too fast for my lens. The problem with all flying things is the autofocus has difficulty picking them out and I have difficulty switching to manual focus, especially if I have a dog leash in one hand ūüėČ

The water didn’t contain much action today, perhaps because¬† of a strong northwest wind that seemed to be gusting at 15-20 mph. But I did see a couple double-crested cormorants just west of the parking lot. With the first there was no doubt – the second, however, another teenager as it turns out, had me thinking I had spotted a loon. Here’s the mature commorant.

Mature, Double-crested cCormorant - click image for larger view.

Mature, Double-crested Cormorant - click image for larger view.

Mature, Double-crested Cormorant - click image for larger view.

Mature, Double-crested Cormorant - click image for larger view.

Now notice the different in color Рboth feathers and beak-  of the immature.

Juvenile, Double-crested Cormorant - click image for larger view. This is the dud that ha dme thinking "loon" - wrong!

Juvenile, Double-crested Cormorant - click image for larger view. This is the dud that ha dme thinking "loon" - wrong!

Finally, while photographing the cormorants I could resist this handsome guy – another teenager – but in this case a black-backed gull. Note the black trimming to wings and tail, the fully black bill, and whitish head.

First winter Great Black-backed - click for larger image.

First winter Great Black-backed - click for larger image.

Am I sure? NO! Help from the more knowledgeable birders is always welcome. Just use the comment form. Seems to me it’s not easy to separate the first winter versions of the Laughing Gull, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed. But my best assessment here is Great Black-backed.

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One Response to A tame flycatcher, elusive monarchs, and more teenagers

  1. Don Douglas says:

    Relative size can be helpful. The Laughing Gull is much smaller than even the Herring Gull which is smaller than the GBB Gull. The Lesser Blackbacked is only slightly smaller than the Herring Gull and is a winter visitor from Europe. Agree, it seems likely a GBB whose plumage is more contrasty than that of Herring Gull.

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