Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mystery Vireo: Your Best Guess

Thursday, May 28, 2009

At Magee Marsh two weekends ago, in addition to the myriad warblers present, there were several vireo species there, too. I photographed this vireo from the boardwalk assuming it was the warbling vireo that had been singing from the same vicinity.

We'd also seen a Philadelphia vireo or two during the morning.

When I got home and started going through my photos to select any that were 'keepable' and to ditch those that weren't I came across this bird again. I thought to make it a Mystery Bird ID Quiz, and sent the image to two birders whose ID skills I respect. One said Philly, one said warbling. It's a bit tough with the mostly head-on views.

I still feel it's a warbling vireo, but maybe one that recently ate a Philly Cheesesteak at Pat's, thus making its lores dirtier than normal and it's overall look pale and washed out (no doubt from the Cheez Whiz). To me the bill does not look stubby enough for a Philly.

What do YOU say?

Maybe one or more of the bird ID aces that occasionally lurk here at BOTB will be kind enough to chime in. [You know who you are.] If you DO answer, please give your reasons.

Game on!


On May 29, 2009 at 6:30 AM Erik said...

I looked at the pics before I read the text. I'm certainly no ace, but my thought was Warbling. Maybe it's the lighting but it seems to lack the distinctive markings that I associate with a Philadelphia. Maybe it's a jizz thing. It just feels like a Warbling. Or maybe I just blow the call on all lightly marked Philadelphia's.

On May 29, 2009 at 1:57 PM Anonymous said...

My vote is Warbling. More washed out look as opposed to contrast of the Philly. only my best estimate, as both bird extremes can overlap. Warbling!
Gary Wayne

On May 29, 2009 at 2:04 PM Jerry Jourdan said...

Terrific post! I'm leaning toward Philadelphia Vireo based on gray cap and hint of dark line through the eyes. That said, I could be wrong. I was at Magee about the same time and photographed this Philadelphia Vireo/Tennessee Warbler (which I ultimately labeled Tennessee Warbler (female)based on white undertail feathers:
But I could be wrong, wrong, wrong!


On May 29, 2009 at 9:29 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

No fair. You only showed me the head-on shot. Now I'm leaning Warbling.

Hey, who did your beyotchin' re-design? It is ossum!

On May 30, 2009 at 7:44 AM Dave Lewis said...

Off subject...I like the new blog site...the view through the spotting scope confused me a bit...
and I still think it's a Warbling Vireo...

On May 30, 2009 at 8:23 AM MaineBirder said...

I would lean toward Warbling Vireo too. I may be apt to change my mind if just a little more light was on the bird, but for now let's say Warbling Vireo.

On June 8, 2009 at 2:44 PM Seabrooke said...

I'm a little confused about why there's even any question why it wouldn't be a Warbling Vireo. Facial markings and cap colour aside, every Philly I've seen (and admittedly I've been birding for far less time than you or many of your readers, so I have a smaller sample size to draw from) has had a yellow wash to the breast, but your vireo appears to have none. I do see that Sibley includes a "drab adult" in his guide that has more subtle yellow tones. Maybe it's not that I've never seen a white-breasted Philly, but rather that I'm writing off the drab birds as Warblings?