Hey guys, welcome back! Today is one of my favorite flycatchers, the great crested flycatcher. One of the larger flycatchers, they are easy to tell from all other eastern flycatchers by their reddish brown wings, grayish head, and lemon yellow bellies. In the west, however, there are a number of other flycatchers that look similar to them such as the brown-crested and ash-throated flycatchers, but their ranges overlap only slightly.
The great crested flycatcher is named for it’s crested head, although truth be told it kinda just looks like a slightly peaked head, and is not like the crest of a blue jay or cardinal. Great crested flycatchers love to spend their time high atop the canopies in the forest, and because of that it’s a good idea to get used to their song. I was extremely lucky to get the picture at the top of this post. I was living in St. Louis, and walked down to Gateway Arch National Park. It’s a tiny, very manicured park that acts more like elaborate landscaping for the Arch itself. But, it’s a migrant trap. The park lies right on the Mississippi, and is the only green space for a few miles. I spent many afternoons in spring of ’19 birding there, and found tons of stuff. a dozen (or more) warbler species, two tanager species, two oriole species, and numerous flycatchers, just to name a few. I was nearing some crabapples by the south reflecting pool that had been producing lots of birds. I’m standing there, and I look up behind me, and right there, maybe 10 feet off the ground, perfectly perched in a tree, was a great crested flycatcher. I slowly lifted my camera and snapped a bunch of pics. He flew off shortly after that. I had seen these guys before, but never that close.it was one of those great sightings that make birding worthwhile. Head on back next week when we go back to the warblers! See you all then!
Quirky birds! I love when they pop up on my patch or surprise me on a bird walk. Once you learn the call, you always know when one is near! Thanks for another great species spotlight! William — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message
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