Category Archives: Perching Birds

Eastern Phoebe

Flycatchers around the marsh can be difficult to photograph as they like to perch on the side of a tree hanging over the water resulting in obstructed views. And they are fast!

This fellow was ahead of me as I wondered up the side of a pond,  flitting in and out of trees and occasionally swooping out over the water. He finally took a break on some pretty dried vegetation.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe – click photo for larger view

This time he was rewarded with a large catch. It looks like a dragonfly even though he has it scrunched up a bit. The leafless trees gave me a clear shot but also resulted in a lot of background busyness. He promptly turned his back on me and gulped it down.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe – click photo for larger view

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher…

…I think. Or maybe a Vireo.

It looks a lot like the Gnatchatcher drawing in the Peterson Field Guide and less like the photos on Cornell’s All About Birds website. The eye ring points to a Vireo.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Either way, it was a perky energetic bird that mostly stayed hidden by branches of the trees he was inspecting. A dead limb let me get a few clear shots.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

A flash of the tail and he was gone.

I’ve been calling these small birds “Song Birds” but have learned while trying to identify this bird that as members of the order Passeriformes they are “Perching Birds.” The arrangement of their toes, with three pointing forward and one backward, facilitates perching. Somehow I’ve been skipping over that in my bird ID activities.