Visiting with Vireos

To add to the confusion or maybe to clarify instead, how about a little Vireo review? I misidentified a Warbling Vireo this morning while talking to a lovely birder I met on the trail in Riverside Lawn, thinking I saw the eyeline of a Red-eyed Vireo but when I reviewed my photographs, they were all of a Warbling Vireo. Either it’s been easier to see Warbling Vireos this year, or else it’s just the luck of being out more, but I have managed to capture them on several occasions. This bird was particularly easy to photograph because it was distracted by trying to grab some webbing, and maybe I was more distracted by its behavior as well.

Depending on the light, the slight yellowish cast on the breast can appear darker.

And then in this morning’s photographs, I had what appears to be a Philadelphia Vireo, which is very easy to confuse with the Warbling but is definitely more yellow on the breast in appearance and darker above.

The Red-eyed is most commonly seen and shouldn’t be confused with anybody else. Sometimes you see the red eye for which it is named but these photos from Saturday at Columbus Park did not capture that field mark.

I had to dig a little into the archives a bit for the other two vireos. Below is a Blue-headed Vireo I saw briefly at the Portage a couple weeks ago, but the other photographs are from the exact same time of year two years ago.

And I will end with the one least-often seen but always appreciated – the beautiful Yellow-throated Vireo. I captured these individuals on two separate occasions last fall at Bemis.

I’m glad we got that out of the way. I’ll be back with lots more.

Oh yes – most importantly: vireos always have blue feet which you may be able to see in some of the closer photos.

A Philadelphia Vireo

We must have been right in the migratory path for these birds, because I can’t remember ever seeing them before, but this spring I got to photograph two individuals. This short post is a tribute to a special encounter I had with this one Philadelphia Vireo at the Portage on May 27.

There’s nothing flashy about this bird, and observing a gray bird so closely on a rather gray-sky day was totally unexpected. I just stood and photographed this beautiful creature while it gleaned what I can only imagine were infinitesimal insects caught in what might appeared to be some web filament.

So if you ever get this good a look at a vireo, you can always confirm the genus because they all have blue feet!

I will be back with a more traditional post soon. I just wanted to devote an entire page to these pictures because the encounter was so special. A bird I was barely familiar with gave me an entire tutorial about its habits and appearance in the space of maybe five minutes. I am forever grateful.