Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Least Flycatcher, May Migration through Northern Illinois

A Least Flycatcher, Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL: 5/8/2011.
Another bird that arrived to our area of northern Illinois in early May, was the Least Flycatcher (Above). When I first spotted this little guy, I was unsure about what kind of tyrant flycatcher it was, but its short "CHEbek" song and later looking at my photos, its shorter bill and wingtips told me it was a Least and not an Acadian Flycatcher, which would have been the only other logical choice of this type of flycatcher with such a bold white eyering. I was happy to have finally spotted this flycatcher as it added to my life list.
A BIF of a Least Flycatcher, Rock Cut State Park; 5/8/2011.
I was also lucky enough to catch it in some open areas for some clear photos and to get a decent BIF shot ("bird in flight") (Above), as it flitted from branch to branch in a close by brushy area. Flycatchers like the Least of the 'empidonax' species are generally drab olive green on their head and back with obvious wing stripes and lighter (whiteish / yellowish) underneath.
Another look at the Least Flycatche, Rock Cut State Park; 5/8/2011.
Northern Illinois is on the very southern edge of the Least's summer range.  It is more common north of here from Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and northward into Canada. It is also found east to the Atlantic coast, but is rarely found west of Montana. During Winter months, except for the extreme southern tip of Florida, it will leave the U.S. for the warmer climates of Central America. At the least, I was greatful for the chance to see and photograph the Least Flycatcher, which became #290 on my Life List.

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