1-A-2018 Alder Flycatcher

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
7-0
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Alec Hopping
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
The bird was working both sides of the road but mostly the western (uphill side). This checklist is more or less an exact location, but I also took a reading from my GPS: UTM zone 11 535856 5420129
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
It appeared to be on territory, so will be worth checking up on as the season progresses. The habitat was a fairly recent burn with extensive ~alder~ in the understory, and nearby marsh access. I think that there's a high chance that this bird represents a sparse breeding population rather than a vagrancy, hence deliberately looking for this species here in the first place. Please refrain from using playback here- the bird is loud and should be easy to find, and will probably be visited by birders many times.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
My description, from the eBird checklist, is below:

****State first, pending acceptance by the IBRC.

Driving slowly with the windows down, I saw a Traill's-type flycatcher cross the road. Aware of the potential for ALFL in this area I got out to investigate, and noted immediately that the bird in question had a number of traits that I interpreted as highly suggestive of Alder rather than Willow, and especially rather than western Willow. 
Among these traits were:

-The bird's decidedly greenish mantle (western Willow generally appears rather brownish), which contrasted firmly with its cool-grayish crown.

-A round-headed (or flat-ish headed) profile, rather than the distinctly crested look typical of WIFL.

-Dark, contrasting wings with clearly white, not brownish, wing bars. To me, this part of ALFL is more or less reminiscent of LEFL's wing panel, which is not generally something I associate with WIFL, who's wings are consistently less contrasty.

-A bright white throat, also contrasted with the grayish auriculars.

-Moderate to longish primary projection, similar to eastern but NOT western Willow, which generally has distinctly shorter primary projection. 

-A smallish bill for a Traill's-type.

-A decently well-defined eye ring that would be on the far end of WIFL's range of variation. 

The combination of these traits convinced me to hang around and wait for the bird to vocalize. When it eventually sang it was, well, obviously Alder. Recordings were made with my phone of the bird's ree-BEEAH song and also its pip call (which it took FOREVER to make), and were minimally edited.

Additionally, I got (somewhat shaky but workable) handheld video of the bird singing, and will add that after going through Macaulay.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Photo
Video
SUPPORTING IMAGES

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Excellent documentation supports the identification of Alder Flycatcher.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

excellent documentation including description, photos and recording

Jay Carlisle
Accept

well documented ... and I eventually saw/heard the original individual plus heard a second

Darren Clark
Accept

photos are good, but audio is definitive.

Dave Trochlell
Accept

Because of this exceptional, thorough, and convincing rare bird report, I'm voting to accept this evidence without hesitation as Idaho's first Alder Flycatcher record. The excellent recording of the bird's song especially clinched my support.

Doug Ward
Accept

Tough to argue with the incredible video, and clear sound, included in the Forssell report. Each of the reports and supporting documentation clearly support acceptance as a first State record of Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum). To boot, coupled with previous reports from extreme northern Idaho, it seems this species exists in small numbers as a local breeder! Nice addition to the understanding of our native avifauna.

Carl Lundblad
Accept

Excellent and thorough documentation including photos, videos, audio, detailed written description, and thorough discussion separating this bird from Willow Fly. Nicely done by Alec.