I saw this bird after a fall-out at Fort De Soto in Pinellas County, FL. After going through all the guides I have and internet resources, Blue-headed Vireo is my best guess. What do you think? -SLB
Is this a Blue-headed Vireo?
Not certain about the upper bird, but a good rule-of-thumb is when identifying a duck, look at the duck next to it. By that token I’d say that both are Blue-headed Vireos although neither of my guides show a female or juvenile (strangely). However, the lower one certainly is. Given their previous name of ‘Solitary Vireo’ it might turn out to be a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (or something) that was in the same bush, but logically it’s a pair. The lower one scores on all fronts (according to my books) with a white throat, yellow belly, yellow flanks, blue head, heavy white broken eye-ring, and two white wingbars. It also states that they’re common spring (and fall) migrants to (or rather, through) the east. A nice ‘lifer’.
(P.S, I have accepted both WBIT? & Photo invitations).
You know what, I take that back! I was so busy looking at the individual features, I never actually “just looked” at the bird. Now that I do, I can see it isn’t a Blue-headed Vireo (or even a Vireo at all). It’s a Northern Parula! The eye-ring is wrong for a start (it’s not a broken ring, it’s two eye-arcs (i.e, it’s broken front and rear) and what looks like a white throat is sunlight shining on a turned head. the throat is actually yellow. More tricky to see is the orange/black ‘necklace’ but it’s partly seen in the orange of the flanks. The head is actually too blue (not gray enough) for the BHV and finally (if blown up in size to 400%) you can just make out the green ‘mantle’ or saddle-back. Oops, sorry about that. Yes, it’s a Northern Parula (warbler).
I am sure the bottom bird is a Northern Parula, but the bird on top seems to have an eye ring. I think the bird on top is a Blue-headed Vireo. Look again, please.
Re the bird on top – I was looking at the female Northern Parula on All About Birds site and she looks bright in breeding plumage, while the Blue-headed Vireo seems, also on that site, seems to be just right.
SLB, the picture of the top bird is really not clear enough to make a 100% certain ID. However, I am troubled by the size of this bird relative to the Northern Parula (too small for the BHVI) and the fact that its belly and sides are too white. Could this be a Tennessee Warlber?
I hadn’t considered the Tennessee, but I am going to check that against my other photos taken the same day. DaLo, as far as species staying together, I saw that with some after the fall-out. I remember Baltimore and Orchard Orchard Orioles, Blue Grosbeasks, Indigo Buntings, but not really Warblers. I will have to check that out, and which species might be more likely to stay in the same area. This was my first spring with Warblers, and now I can see what I will be looking for next time.
I’m just not able to come up with a bullet-proof ID on this one. Have you any other shots of this upper bird?
Actually, I believe I was standing in a group of more experienced birders and one called our attention to the Northern Parula which is almost in the center of the original photo. In going through my photos, I noticed there was another bird and wondered what it is. Oh yeah, Da Lo, the answer to your question is, “No.”
I just looked at my pictures of the Blue-headed Vireo and my thought is that this could be one….the large eye ring, thick bill with white near it appears to be similar…but, like the others, I can’t be 100% sure.