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Friday, August 26, 2011

#15: Acadian Flycatcher - Sandy Creek Park, NC

Sandy Creek Park is really an old standby, and during the summer of 2010, James and I visited it on almost a daily basis. While the two large ponds are really the big draw of Sandy Creek, there’s also a greenway that runs along the creek itself. During large rainstorms, the creek will flood its banks, and when the waters recede the asphalt will become covered in large swaths of the very sand that gives Sandy Creek its name.

In any case, the greenway can be good for forest birds, Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parulas, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos chief among them, but during the summer it’s home to a particular species of Empidonax flycatcher. Now, Empids love riparian environments, but they’re very hard to identify by sight alone. However, the season will narrow it down – during migration in the Triangle, you can see three species, Least (which I’ve seen on several occasions around here), Yellow-bellied, and Willow (neither of which I’ve seen in the Triangle). But during the summer, we only get one, and walking along the creek on any given day, you’re bound to hear the charming little pSEET! of an Acadian Flycatcher.

Acadian Flycatcher - Sandy Creek Park, NC; 06/06/2010

Unlike other Empids, Acadians prefer to hang out in the tree canopy, rather than down by the creekside, which is exactly what this little guy was doing. I’ve had birds that sound like they’re right above you, yet are impossible to locate because they’re small, the leaves are thick, and they really love to move around! So this shot, all things considered, isn’t the worst in the world. It’s not the greatest either, but it’s the only one we’ve got of an Acadian Flycatcher and I think it’s bound to stay that way.

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