I was very optimistic about the prospect of adding another bird to my yard list this fall. I've seen more warblers this summer than I've ever seen, it's just that they were ones I've had in the yard before. So with post-breeding dispersal taking place, fall migration ahead, and my Warbler Guide in hand, I was confident I'd add a new warbler as yard bird #97 before the fall was over.
And the birds did not disappoint! It came earlier than I thought it might (on August 8th) but I didn't need to look in my Warbler Guide to identify it. Not that I knew what it was without looking, because I didn't, but because my newest yard bird was a flycatcher.
I've had three flycatchers in my yard before: Eastern Phoebes, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Great-crested Flycatchers. I knew my new bird was a flycatcher and I knew it wasn't one I'd had visit before. This flycatcher was small, with a yellow wash on the sides, eyering, and wing bars. I was able to place it in the Empidonax group, a small handful of flycatchers that can be a challenge to identify. I was also pretty sure it wasn't the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher because it lacked the yellow throat, but past that I was having trouble. Hearing them sing might have helped, but this bird was silent. So I reached out to the New York Birders Facebook group, and after just a little discussion, it was identified as a Least Flycatcher.
The bird was quite cooperative, perching nicely about 15' away from the open blind I was sitting in. He didn't stay too long though and hasn't been seen since. But I was glad he showed up long enough to help me hit #97 early in the migration season, leaving me plenty of time to still get that new warbler I was expecting, only now as #98!