Cassin 's vireo; Sherwin creek, Mammoth

Observers: Donna Willey
Date: 06/04/2008
Time: 12:00 AM -0400

Hearing about the Bell's vireo induced me to post tonight on the 2 newcomers at Sherwin creek. With the help of Chris H. we think this vireo is a Cassin's vireo. I had some trouble I.D.' ing this bird, knew it was a vireo by the hooked maxilla but the FG's I have didn't say anything about the change in names. So Chris tells me the Solitary vireo has been split into Cassin's, Plumbeous and Blue-headed. Sorry I don't have a better photo... this one was taken against the light but it does show the spectacles and the hooked beak and some yellow coloring on the sides of the belly. What the photo doesn't show is the olive green/dark brown back and sides of the bird w/ 2 striking white wing bars. This little bird looks alot like the female ruby-crowned kinglet if you are seeing it w/ naked eye and not binoculars. But it has a song like no other. Loud and almost burry and rough it likes to sing as it forages and once you hear it you don't forget it. I have never seen it at Sherwin creek before and there are 2 of them so perhaps they will stay the summer, nest and breed which would be fun. We have many Warbling vireos that nest at the creek so it is nice to see, what is for me an unusual vireo. David Gaines says it is a rare transient below 8000' east of the crest. Hope it stays awhile.