Sallying forth from the sally post

We have a few flycatchers around the garden this summer – one took up a new “sally post” on Harold and Hilda’s beaks this very hot afternoon and used them for a while sallying forth over the water in the pond to take insects before returning to its perch and trying again. On one such venture it got too close to the surface of the water and returned with a string of algae attached to one foot.

Not sure why the various species of flycatchers have to be so confusing in appearance – evolution was not being helpful there – but they are so. Pretty sure this is a juvenile Eastern Phoebe youngster or an Eastern Wood-Pewee (toffee-coloured wingbars rather than the adult’s paler ones) – and would an adult be so silly as to try to catch pond scum in the first place? Hard to be totally sure though which species. It’s easy to confuse these Two. We certainly have a small family of Eastern Phoebe’s doing their tail bobbing thing around the garden, though I don’t recall this chap doing so … so Pewee or Phoebe? Both as juveniles have the brownish wing-bars. In this bird they do seem quite pronounced so for that I would lean towards Pewee, on the other hand the back of the head is smooth and not “crested” which tends towards Phoebe. I also see a faint yellowish blush on the stomach so all-in-all I am going to come down on the side of Phoebe … but I am open to persuasion in the other direction. If it was an adult I think the distinction would be clearer.

Meanwhile, today the bees are working the pontadera in the pond and the same flowers were checked out by one of the semi-resident (at least, of late) RT Hummingbirds who are usually more interested in the red canna lily flowers.

Algally encumbered
Algally encumbered

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Bee working pontadera flower
Bee working pontadera flower


  1. Jean Harwood | | Reply

    cute bird……but how many times? Pontaderia – it has an “i”

    • Richard | | Reply

      You may have mentioned that before 🙂

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