probable Philadelphia Vireo at McGee Creek

Observers: Ben Winger and Tasha Galliher
Remote Name:
Date: 07/03/2005
Time: 04:01 PM -0400


Yesterday late afternoon, I went to McGee Creek in search of the Philadelphia Vireo that Chris McCreedy found and posted earlier this week. Tasha Galliher and I found the bird in question very close to the GPS coordinates that Chris mentioned. I located the bird by song first--it stands out as a two part song similar to Red-eyed Vireo or Philadelphia Vireo. Chris's pneumonic "quick have a drink" for the first, ascending phrase, seemed an appropriate match to me. The song did not have the more strident quality of a Cassin's/Plumbeous Vireo. Rather, it was throatier, more like Red-eyed in quality. I heard it singing for a little over a minute, and several times its song seemed a litle bit jumbled, as it was throwing a couple of extra notes into the normally monotonous Red-eyed-like pattern. However, it did not sound like any Warbling Vireo I have ever heard. I considered for a while that this was a strange WAVI just repeating the first part of its song, but the quality just did not seem right. It was lower and less strained than the WAVI's singing nearby, and the two-part, ascending and descending, repeating pattern was obvious. I did manage to get a brief audio recording of the bird singing, but I am leaving the country today and so I won't be able to make that available for at least a month. I saw the bird for about 15-20 seconds in good light at ~20 meters. It clearly has a pale lemon yellow throat, with yellow extending down onto the breast. I did not get a good look at the flanks or undertail coverts. I have seen many Philadelphia's in the east (I grew up in Ohio and go to school in New York) and the underparts of this bird seemed within the range of PHVI's I have seen. Certainly there was more yellow on the throat than a Warbling should have, and I have never seen a Warbling in the west with this much yellow. The troubling part was the face pattern. Although my view was brief, the face seemed plain to me, without the distinct eyeline and dark cap that I am used to seeing on Philadelphias. I wish I was able to study the face for longer, but this was late afternoon and the bird was being a little uncooperative. I would urge people to go have a look at this bird and share their comments. By the way, I saw this bird singing in both the clumps of willows, as well as the edge of the nearby aspen stand.