Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Philly Vireo Invasion

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Fall provides the best birding on our farm in southeastern Ohio. And the middle weeks of September are the peak of fall passerine migration. Among the birds we see more regularly in the fall than spring is the Philadelphia vireo. This morning, when the sun started warming the birch trees in our yard, the foliage came alive with foraging warblers and vireos. By far the most numerous species was the Philly vireo.

Several birds (there were at least 10 Philly vireos) paused long enough in the birches to have their picture taken. Though these images aren't great, they represent the pinnacle of my Philly vireo photography career.

There is something about the face of a Philly vireo that makes it instantly recognizable to me. The gray cap, white lines curving above and below the large, black eye, and the somewhat stubby-appearing bill all combine to help me put a name on this gray-yellow-green leaf-skulker whenever I see it.

The field guides will point to the yellow-washed underparts and the dark spot before the eye (or in some cases a thin black line through the eye). But this species can vary in appearance. Pale Phillys can be easily confused with warbling vireos.

Also making an appearance this morning, in the few short hours before I headed in to work at BWD: magnolia, Tennessee, Nashville, black-throated green, Cape May, bay-breasted, blackpoll, and Blackburnian warblers and American redstart. I heard a singing black-and-white warbler, but did not see it.


On September 23, 2009 at 5:07 PM Robert Mortensen said...

I'm having warbler/vireo-envy.

On September 23, 2009 at 5:34 PM Bill of the Birds said...

Well the birds are really moving right now, so go out early and late and look and you'll surely see some migrants.

On September 23, 2009 at 9:07 PM OpposableChums said...

Jim McCormac told me (after you introduced me to him) that he'd had 12 Phillies 5-minutes from Lakeside.

Here in Manhattan? Uh, we got some guy named Quadaffi, some guy named Ahmedinejad, and some guy named Obama bringing traffic to a stand-still for a few days.

There's no place like Lakeside. There's no place like Lakeside...

On September 23, 2009 at 9:23 PM Dave Lewis said...

Thanks for the great fun at MBS!
We had some Phillies at Magee this week also.
We're looking forward to 2011 at Lakeside!

On September 23, 2009 at 10:13 PM Richard Anderson, AIA said...

That fourth image is particularly lovely.

On September 26, 2009 at 12:48 PM Alison Kerr said...

Great pics. I love the first one. You can really see the curiosity of the bird.

On September 28, 2009 at 10:04 AM Mike Shade said...

I love starting the day with your blog! You've got me looking at my trees before I leave for work and I'm seeing a lot.