Vermilion Gorge

Vermilion River Gorge Hiking Trial 

Last night the hiking trail at the Vermilion River Gorge was alive with bird song. Finally, the mosquitos have hatched providing much needed food for our feathered friends! O.K., one must have a positive attitude when walking in the woods at this time of year!

Anyhow, some new migrants that have arrived in the area are: Canada Warbler (back in the same spot as last year – in the thickest brush you can imagine); Black-throated Green Warbler; Veery; Northern Parula; Blackburnian Warbler. They were joined by the mulitudes of Nashville Warblers (another misnomer) and Least Flycatchers.

Then I heard the call of a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER!  dur-reep, dur-reep Wow, I hope this isn’t just a migrant – he was in a swampy area down by the lake.

The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher is one of the Empidonax Flycatchers. In Minnesota we have 5 species of Flycatcher that look so similar that they can only be identified by song and/or habitat. Up north here around Crane Lake we would probably encounter only 3 of the Empids: Least Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and Alder Flycatcher.

The Alder Flycatcher is kind of a fun bird, their song is said to sound like: free beer, free beer…and they frequent Alder bushes.

And then there’s the Olive-sided Flycatcher (not one of the empids) and he says: quick three beers, quick three beers… This Flycatcher is larger and likes wetlands and you can usually see them at the top of a dead tree doing what they like to do best: catching bugs on the fly. They will fly out from their perch to catch a flying insect and most of the time will return to the same perch. Easy to spot and identify if you are lucky enough to find one.


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