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Monday, June 6, 2011

Petersham MA May 28-31, 2011

A few days ago we visited our grandparents up in Petersham Massachusetts.

We found all the usual species along with a new one. An Alder Flycatcher, the identical twin to the Willow Flycatcher (both species are Empidonax Flycatchers). We found this life bird down by the pond where we had recently spotted the (possible) Least Flycatcher which was also an Empidonax and a life bird.

Empidonax Flycatchers are by far the hardest birds to identify in North America due to similarities in feather patterns and colors. Generally the only way that birders are able to put a name to these tricky little devils is by voice alone (unless you manage to get inches away from it and get an extremely good look at the lower mandible).

There were two of them down by the pond I suspect that they are nesting in the area; it being perfect habitat for them. I managed to get some fairly good photos of them and took a video recording of the song. At the time we weren't positive that they were Alders but when we got home I put the song recording on the internet and some other birders confirmed my suspicion.

Other highlights included: Barred Owls heard hooting late at night, Wood Duck, Indigo Bunting, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Pileated Woodpecker. Later that day at a local Audubon we heard another Alder Flycatcher. It was a great few days.

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