1-A-2018-c Alder Flycatcher

STATUS
Pending
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
2
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Jay Carlisle
OTHER OBSERVERS
Heidi Ware Carlisle
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
West Side Rd, Boundary Co., ID (coordinates are 48.933243, -116.510943)
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
relatively recently burned forest with dense deciduous shrubs under snags
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
partly cloudy and a little breezy with distant storms on 6-21; clear & calm on 6-24
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Sibley app
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
2 distinct singing birds– the first bird was already well documented by Alec Hopping and others, the purpose of this report is to ensure documentation of a 2nd singing Alder from the same area

On 6-21 we heard the “fre-beer” song as soon as we opened the car doors! For a while we worked on getting video/audio and then after 15-20 minutes I started realizing that I was hearing a 2nd Alder song further upslope. I told Heidi and we both heard it counter-singing with the original/closer bird multiple times – and we ruled out an echo or mimic based on the varying timing between each bird singing.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
the original bird was singing from a snag ~70m from the road right away and spent most of its time ~60-100m upslope from the road. The second bird was heard-only and I would guess it’s location was 150+ to 250+ meters upslope – only sometimes in earshot.

On our second stop (June 24), I bushwhacked about 60m upslope to try to get closer to the 2nd bird – I couldn’t see it through the “sea of snags” but I could distinctly hear both birds counter-singing the diagnostic “fre-beer” song and have a couple of audio files in which you can clearly hear the closer (“original”) bird and barely make out the more distant one. In addition to audio files mentioned below, I am attaching a video/audio combo that Heidi created that shows a spectrogram – the first/closer bird is very easy to hear and it’s very prominent on the spectrogram while the second occurs nearer the end and is much fainter. In the video, Heidi is circling her mouse cursor over the faint area on the spectrogram to highlight the area.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
We had the advantage of knowing a singing Alder (“fre-beer” song) had been well-documented on territory and we’d also been doing point count surveys all week with many Willow Flycatchers (“fitz-bew”) and fewer individuals of Least, Cordilleran, and Dusky. At this site we heard &/or saw Willow, Dusky, Cordilleran, and Western Wood-pewee. Upon seeing the bird Alec had found, I also enjoyed getting a view of the upperparts that showed a greenish hue unlike any Willow. Also, on a few occasions I heard the voicy “pip” call note.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
See above section but differentiated mostly by song, and completely for the 2nd bird, but also the greenish coloration on the back and the different, more voicy call note (Alder is more similar to a Hammond’s than to any western Empid)
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I have seen/heard 50-100+ in Alaska (breeding) and the Dakotas (spring migration).
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
25+ years of experience; avid birder
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
see the digiscope video of the original bird in the eBird checklist (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46709335). I’ll also attach 2 audio files that have 2 distinct Alders singing.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Video
Audio
SUPPORTING VIDEOS
SUPPORTING AUDIO