Tag Archives: Hammond’s Flycatcher

Project 366 – Post No. 065 – Bighorn Sheep in Jasper National Park

What is Project 366? Read more here!

We were on the road to Jasper National Park for a camping weekend in the mountains. It is always a special treat to head up into the mountains, but this time we were a bit apprehensive as the weather forecast looked quite gloomy with rain and cold temperatures. Sure enough, as soon as we went through the park gate the rain started coming down. It was, however, too late to turn back now. The road between the park gate and Jasper is scenic as it meanders its way through a valley following the Athabasca River with mountains and lakes surrounding us on either. The highway inside the park is limited to 90 km/h with a number 70 km/h sections. There are good reasons for this as animals often hang out around and on the highway. In the past we have seen coyotes, foxes, bears, elks and bighorn sheep right on this stretch of highway. As we were crossing an isthmus between the Athabasca River on the right and Talbot Lake on the left half-dozen of Bighorn Sheep came galloping towards us along the highway. This must have been a good omen, if you believe in such things, The weekend ended up turn out great. Yes it rained for the rest of the day. but the next two days were sunshine allowing us to do some awesome hikes and birding, including scoring two lifers: Yellow-rumpled Warbler (Setophaga coronata, Lifer #156, AB Big Year #107) and Hammond’s Flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii, Lifer #155, AB Big Year #106). All in all, that would be considered a pretty awesome weekend.

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.

Project 366 – Post No. 054 – Empidonax Flycatcher

What is Project 366? Read more here!

My first flycatcher turned out to be a tricky nut to crack. I spotted it at the top of a dead spruce along the Athabaskan River along the old Ice Fields Parkway in Jasper National Park. Right from the get go I had no idea what I was looking at. I knew that the species was new to me and since I was nit even able to place it in a bird category, e.g. sparrows, finches, black birds, etc, I knew that this was something big. As I had not hope of identifying the bird in the field I focused on getting photographs of it from as many angles as possible. Fortunately it was a sunny day and the bird was perched in full sunlight, so I was able to get some decent pictures of it. Later on after the usual consultations with Merlin and Sibley it appeared that I had a flycatcher at my hands from the genus Empidonax. Flycatchers are small insect eating birds with many species looking similar. Sometimes positive identification is only possible based range, behaviour or vocalizations. My flycatcher is most likely a Hammond’s Flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii, Life: #155, AB Big Year: #106).

Nikon P1000, 806mm @ 35mm, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 250.

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.