I’ve been trying to get photos of the Eastern Phoebe out in the open for some time; they’re in the shade around here. On a recent excursion down to Charlie Elliot Wildlife Management Area in Jasper County, Georgia, we parked at Fox Lake to photograph dragonflies in the afternoon. The dragonflies were out hunting and there, on a slip-rail fence by the parking lot, were a pair of birds also out hunting. At a distance they looked like Eastern Phoebes so I decided to try for some photos.
It was a bit of a challenge because they were perched on the fence to the west of me. There was no way I could circumnavigate the parking lot and come back from the west. So I followed them slowly from the east. I managed to get four shots but only one showed the detail I was looking for.
Here it is…
Then, when I got home and processed the image, I realized it was an Eastern Kingbird, not an Eastern Pheobe. The Eastern Kingbird has a distinct delineation between the dark head and light throat compared with the ‘blurring’ from dark head to throat on the Eastern Pheobe. The Eastern Kingbird also has a white-tipped tail – not clearly visible in this photograph – compared with the Eastern Phoebe which has a brown-tipped tail.
Although I didn’t add a better image of an Eastern Phoebe for my collection, I did get a nice image of an Eastern Kingbird.
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The Cornell Institute of Ornithology - All About Birds:
- Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
- Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)