Update Jan 05 2005:lots
more pics and comment from today added at the bottom of the page.
Update December 03, 2004:
I've added a zoom of the head/bill at the bottom.. Also today
I saw this bird again for about a minute, at close range, and
I was able to see that it has a very prominent crest and rear-eye
"teardrop", blackish legs, long primary projection (more
than 3/4 of the visible tertial length) and long tail that it
wagged quite a bit. I was not able to get any reliable detail
on the bill this time, and it was silent throughout.
Photographed at the Halff
Brothers Ranch, near Pearsall, Frio County, Texas on November
09 2004: This is a different bird yet again than the Sept 23 and
Nov 26 birds on pages empid4 and empid5. Note the different structure to
those two birds:- the throat is yellowish, not grayish; the tail
is clearly longer; the wing a bit shorter (but still longish);
the bill perhaps a little wider and paler - but still looking
rather narrow for the main Empid group.
Despite having seen in glimpses this bird about four times since
October 31 until at least November 26, I have yet to have a decent
look at it, and I mostly find it by its calls:- it uses two types
of call (assuming these come from the same bird; each time it
is around I hear the type A call a couple of times - usually initially,
and the type B call more persitently. note that the bird has thus-far
only been seen after it comes in to an owl tape/pishing)
Type A call: a single-note, high-pitched "pip" or "pit."
Type B call: a distinctly disyllabic two-note "su-wit!"
or "chu-wit!" with the second note much higher than
the first... in fact it reminds me of the distinctive call of
Yellow-browed Warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus! Thus far
it has always been hard to see, either staying high in the tall
trees, or sometimes dropping into thick cover where only parts
of it are visible - quite different to the two other empids I've
photographed on the ranch, which have been fairly showy. Sheridan
Coffey had the best look at this bird, back on October 31, when
she noted it had a distinctly crested look (also seen by Willie
Here is a comparison of the three empids thus-far photographed
at the Ranch:
Update Jan 05 2005: more pics
from this date:
The primary projection seems very long:- I measured the "primary
projection : visible tertial length" ratio for the Pine Flycatcher
here - it is 1 : 1.183; for this bird (taken from above
image) it is 1 : 1.179, while on two photos of Western
Flycatcher at the correct angle, using the same method, I got
1 : 1.82 and 1 : 1.58. this is a small sample, but
it quantifies the evidently long wings of this bird; are they
too long for Western Flycatcher?
The photos also confirm the field views that the legs are blackish,
not gray, and the tail has a clear fork at the tip; it raised/dropped
it's tail quite a bit, but did not do much wing-flicking. The
bill appeared wider than a typical Hammond's, but narrower than
the main group of Empids; more like a longish Least Fly bill.
I've seen/heard this bird on ca. ten visits now, and the only
call that I can definitely say is coming from it is a high-pitched,
clearly disyllabic "se-whit!" with slight emphasis on
the 2nd note; I've heard it ca. 30+ times now, and from what I
can tell, it only uses this two-note call.