Preparing to leave for Missouri this morning, I heard the distinctive call of an olive-sided flycatcher in the "backyard" of our Littleton, Colorado, farm. Sure enough, the large-headed silhouette of that summer mountain resident occupied the end of a dead limb; he would intermittently dart out to snare a flying insect before returning to the same perch. Though formally known as the olive-sided flycatcher, I have long thought he should be called the "tuxedo flycatcher" since his greenish-brown flanks part to reveal a vertical white band on his chest and abdomen.
Passing through the urban corridor on his way to the mountains, this insectivore will spend the summer near forest clearings or along the alpine timberline where he and his mate will aggressively defend their nest (usually placed in a conifer) from all intruders. Olive-sided flycatchers breed from Alaska to eastern Canada and southward through the Western Mountains and higher stretches of the Appalachians; come September, they will head for wintering grounds in Central and South America.
As for ourselves, we left the farm by early afternoon and enjoyed sunny, mild weather as far east as central Kansas. There, however, we encountered severe thunderstorms and stopped for the night in Hays, where tornado sirens sent us to the first floor hallway; fortunately, we escaped the brunt of the storms, receiving torrential rain and intense lightening. Indeed, as I write this post, a spectacular light display continues to our east, promising more stormy weather when we reach Missouri.