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I have always thought of Alder Flycatcher and Olive-sided Flycatcher, along 
with Connecticut, Mourning and Canada Warblers, as among the late migrants. 
Indeed, when we used to do county counts, we would often find a late Alder 
or Olive-sided Flycatcher still going through in early June.

Whether Willow Flycatcher is also a late migrant is more difficult to decide 
because they breed here.
(I have been used to ticking Willow Flycatcher for my year list almost 
annually at the handicap blind at Schell Osage W.M.A).
The Breeding Bird Atlas showed evidence of Willow Flycatchers breeding, 
albeit sparsely, throughout Missouri. The problem is compounded by the fact 
that Willow and Alder Flycatchers have only been split relatively recently, 
and records antedating the split may not be much help. Also, Willows and 
Alders appear almost identical and not every one seen in late May or early 
June is also heard.

So, are the Willow Flycatchers we find in Missouri in late May breeders or 
late migrants? I'm guessing that those we find in appropriate breeding 
habitat are, in fact, breeders. But the example described below suggests an 
analgous reason for not being sure.

Earlier this May, several birders reported hearing a Blue-winged Warbler at 
the same spot where it bred last year by the bicycle trail at Weston Bend 
S.P.  But more recent reports from Weston Bend have not mentioned it. The 
brushy transition habitat it likes at Weston Bend has been growing up to the 
point where it will eventually be too high for Blue-winged Warbler, if  that 
is not already the case. Bell's Vireos, which used to be common there, have 
already pulled out. I did not hear a Chat there when I visited in mid-May, 
whereas I have usually heard several in previous years. One of these years, 
if not already this year, a Blue-winged Warbler and/or a Chat is going to 
return to Weston Bend and find the habitat too grown up to stay. Perhaps it 
will sing a few times, then move on. The same could be true of the Willow 
Flycatchers being reported at Bob Brown CA and near St. Joseph. They may 
just have seen a few willows and decided to test the location. We probably 
need to go back in a couple of weeks to make sure they are still there. 
Ditto for the Chats and Blue-wingeds at Weston Bend.


Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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