I would much rather have just posted a photo of the bird I am about to mention but its super-high activity level wouldn't allow for it, despite being with 1 sec of having such a photo on 2 occasions. First of all, this is the first Empidonax I have ever had come down near the bath. The only other species I've recorded, LEFL, was singing from a nearby yard and heard only.
A little backdrop: yesterday morning, I had an Empidonax sp. foraging in the early morning in the very top of a tall oak on the edge of the opening in the commons area here. Lighting was atrocious and distance was just too far to do anything else with it. By the time I retreived my scope the bird was long gone. And I never saw another lick of it. But today, after having the obligatory flock of 3-4 TEWA, 3-4 NAWA, 1 CSWA, 1 BAWW, and 1 OVEN hanging around the bath, I was surprised at about 5PM to see a new visitor. It didn't take terribly long to get my bins on it and realize that this Empid had very contrasty black and white wings, plus a circular eyering with no teardrop, and most importantly, very popcorn yellowish chin, breast, and belly. Upon missing the diginoced shot and watching the bird bolt away, I opted to stay and wait rather than chase outside to search for it. After about 15 minutes the bird reappeared again, this time only 5 feet above the bath, but as put the camera up to the scope (which was already on the bird), it again flew within seconds of my getting the camera up there.
So anyway, I know Curtis is still working out EAPH vs EAWP vs Empid, let alone the Empids themselves. The rest of you will have to trust it on my word that today I had a life (yard) Empid, and it wasn't PSFL/COFL. (#123/137)
2013 and beyond
It's pretty simple: the most birds seen or heard from one's yard during 2013 will be the "winner". Want in? O.k....then do it despite that.
2013 promises to be a lot less mean but still a carbon-free birding competition, even if slightly less exciting than a MEGA x EPIC hybrid.