|Say's phoebe -- Photo by J.J. Meyer taken 1/29/16 in Mission Viejo|
|Black phoebe -- Photo taken by J.J. Meyer on 1/29/16 in Mission Viejo|
When I saw a flash of rust in the distance at a park today in Mission Viejo, I first thought it was a female Western bluebird. But once I got closer, it was clear that the bird was a Say's phoebe. A black phoebe also shared the same park. Apparently there are enough insects to support them.
Say's phoebes and black phoebes are both tyrant flycatchers. These species are easy to identify by their behavior. These birds typically dart from a fixed perch to catch insects right out of the air. They can perform incredible aerial acrobatics, which make them fun to watch.