Friday, August 15, 2008

Flycatchers and Gnatchers at Old Cedar

The dragonflies at Old Cedar Bridge need to be wary. While they are predators and spend much of their time on the hunt for other insects there are larger predators who would certainly enjoy a nice plump dragonfly for dinner. Near the ground and in the water there frogs, lizards, spiders and fish that the dragons need to worry about, but even more dangerous are the flying predators. These include bigger dragons, warblers, waterfowl and flycatchers among others.
The great crested flycatcher can be found through out most of the eastern half of the US during the summer. They spend a majority of their time in the treetops, rarely coming down to the ground. As their name suggests they spend a good deal of their time hunting flying insects. When the weather turns cold in North America, and there are no more insects to eat, these birds migrate down to Central and South America where they spend the winter.
Another insect eating bird that I have photographed near the Old Cedar Bridge is the blue-gray gnatcatcher. The blue-gray is the northern most occurring member of the gnatcatcher genus. Most other gnatcatchers spend their lives in neotropic regions. The blue-gray spend its summers in the middle portion of the US with southern Minnesota being on the northern edge of its range.
Since the blue-gray is the only gnatcatcher that breeds in a more northern climate it is also the only gnatcatcher that truly migrates. During the winter the birds that come north migrate down to southern California, Florida, Mexico and the Bahamas. Since they are quite a bit smaller then the great crested flycatchers they would tend to eat many of the smaller insects, this can include spiders, lady beetles, mosquitoes, flies, small damselflies among other insects.


Shelley said...

I like the blue-gray - he reminds me of the nuthatches!

Modesto Viegas said...

good capture!!!