Monday, May 14, 2012

please, send birds...

Pelee has been slow. There, I said it... It's been slow enough that we quickly run out of birding ideas by mid day.... It's been slow enough that I've tried to convince the blond girl at the front desk to go out together and look for butterflies (to decidedly lackluster results)... Heck, it's slow enough that I'm studying the "Solitary Vireo" Complex........... !


I've actually gone through 1500 photos labeled "Blue-headed Vireo" on flickr... I figure that there must be enough people out there with digital cameras to document a wide range of plumages and variations to see if a pattern of these truly pale individuals in the east exists...

Despite what you may think, I'm trying to be really un-biased, but there is very very little in the way of abnormally pale BHVI's to be found on there... Here are the highlights:

THEEE Highlight bird from Ohio: (May 28th!!) --- limited tertial edging/wing bars, but still fairly colourful - not unlike the bird we had at Pelee in May 2006

Texas: worn-ish bird, but has lots of colour:

Then there's a fun one:

Blue-headed Vireo in California? Looks like it may be a Cassin's (and a lot more like our recent bird):


Honestly, in 1500 photos... there's VERY little in the way of abnormally pale birds....  The above photos were the most dramatic by far...

I did some more Cassins' photo searching as well.. Some of these may be the same as yesterdays links, but I'm too tired to compare:

It seems like a lot of them have these really ugly wing bars.. I wonder why? :

A lot of them also have the healthy wingbar/tertial marks -

umm - blue-headed?


There's only a few minutes left in the hockey game, and my devils are losing, so maybe that's enough for one night! Migration currently looks poor on radar as well.. What can you do?


11pm edit: my devils lost :(

Here's some Plumbeous Vireo pics from flickr:


  1. I'd be morbidly curious what your impressions are of the migration overall this year. I've not been out as much as I like this month (but a Pelee weekend is coming up), and I certainly appear to have zigged when I should have zagged in terms of picking spots, but... it's been my impression that wooded areas have been... disturbingly quiet: A few breeders, but next to no migrants (this includes lots of slow car/ear birding). I'm trying not to catastrophize by thinking that there are massively fewer birds to be heard, but... the relative silence is making my tummy hurt.

  2. I did some research as well, vireos only do a prebasic molt so birds in September-December will look much brighter than spring birds - I think that, from your links, the dingiest BHVI in the spring are still much brighter than the bird we had... The Pelee bird from 2006 is probably too bright to be a spring CAVI.

    Another ID point I came across is that the lore contrasts with the crown in CAVI (noticeably darker), whereas in BHVI the lore and crown are the same colour...this one looks like it has a darker lore...

    If you look through more pics I'd focus on ones of CAVI in spring compared to BHVI in spring!!

  3. I saw that Plumbeous in 97 at Pelee, but don't remember a
    damn thing.