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Hammond's flycatcher        Images © Mark A. Chappell

These little flycatchers are one of the 6 or 7 very confusing Empidonax flycatchers, notorious among North American birders for their challenges in identification (several other 'Empi's' are the willow, alder, dusky, gray, and Pacific slope flycatchers.   Probably they are best identified by song -- but they don't often sing outside of the breeding season.   Hammond's flycatchers summer and breed mainly in coniferous forests in western North America, but in migration can occur in many habitats.   They tend to have grayish heads contrasting with olive backs, and less orange on the lower mandible than dusky flycatchers.  These were near lower Lee Vining Creek in Mono County, California.   A wave of migrants was passing through the area with at least four species of Empi's present, judging from songs (Hammond's, dusky, Pacific slope, and willow).   One was photographed near Riverside, California.

  • Digital captures, Canon 1D4; 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter and extension tubes, fill-in flash (2011, 2014)