Tuesday, September 21, 2010
One sunny morning I started my walk at Howarth Park at Lake Ralphine. The trail around the lake is above the water. There are several areas right on the water that have been cleared out and are used by picnickers and fishers. In the early morning the sun rises up over a low ridge, grazing the lake and the land near it and as I walked I saw a Black phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) perched on a rock waiting for the insects that were beginning to buzz above the water as the sunlight warmed the air.
Black phoebe was one of the first birds I learned to identify. The bird's coloring reminded me of a tuxedo and I always imagined the phoebe just getting home from a formal event. Phoebe's call is easy to recognize. Phoebe. Phoebe. Phoebe! Finally, if I saw a black and white bird bounce up out of a low tree or shrub, then circle back into it, then do it all several more times, I was quite certain I'd seen a Black phoebe. Because they don't seem to be so shy of people, they're much easier to spot than other flycatchers, who seem to stay high in the treetops and tend to blend better into their surroundings.