This guy had quite a few people scratching their heads at NJMC Naturalist Mike Newhouse's bird-banding demonstration by Harrier Meadow at Saturday's Meadowlands Festival of Birding.
Any idea? Full frame shot follows. Send in your answer as a comment.
I’m no flycatcher expert by any means, but was recently in the Carribbean (as in while the hurricane was hitting NJ – we left NJ that Saturday morning), and that bird looks a lot like the Caribbean Elaenia I saw in the West Indies, which if it is, could easily have ridden the hurricane winds up to NJ.
Photos of empids are even harder than empids in the hand, which are sometimes harder than empids in the field!
Got any pictures of the bill from underneath? From this angle, it looks like the lower mandible is all orange and quite broad at the base, suggesting the frog face of a Traill’s. The eye ring is pretty strong, which would cause one to lean ever so slightly towards Alder. What about the measurements that were taken in hand?
We all need Caribbean Elaenia in US so would like to call it that but can’t because its clades from that genus.
Its late for Least, the east default species, and besides the eye ring is not prominent and wing projection is longish.
The wide, long bill, long wing projection, thin eye ring point to Alder and the Eastern Willow rarely can approach this ring but Western Willow can have an eye ring like this.
There being some significant westerly influence from T Storm Lee (hence several Lark Sparrows) I am reluctant to rule out a Western Willow. That taxon can look darker than the Eastern Willow and approach the Alder but is usually browner than the subject. This bird seesm more olive which brings us back to Alder.
The other characteristic leaning me to timidly throw out an “extalimital subspecies” (WW) is the wing bars being buffy yet there is decent wear possibly indicating an adult rather than an immature.
The Trails that matches that best may be the Western Willow—–its the only adult with buffy wingbars and the possiblity of an eye ring like that.
If my life depended on it……..I would let someone else go first, being considerate.
If there were good odds I would go WW Alder EW. No odds Alder EW WW.
Like Rick said, can we have more?
I feel very confident that this bird is a flycatcher. 😉