Neon light bird – Yellow-green Vireo

[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2012] – Some days you connect with the bird and some days you don’t. I was pretty disappointed yesterday after not catching up with the Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis found by Sue Smith at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Point Loma, San Diego. So today I headed out there early with one goal in mind! As you will see from the photographs below I did not come away dissatisfied this time around!

Every part of this bird can be seen in these photographs down to the dark blackish thin eyebrow, dark brownish-red eyes, blue legs, pale graphite gray cap, glowing yellow crissum, yellow inner fringes of rectrices, the grayish pink bill, and even the small hooked tip of the upper mandible. The yellowish-olive upperparts and pale gray crown indicates this is the vagrant western form of Yellow-green Vireo V.f. hypoleucus expected here in California.

This Yellow-green Vireo is in very fresh plumage. Delicate light colored fringes edge the wing feathers and the standout yellow coloration on the underparts is bright and eye-popping. It is really just a neon light of a bird when you catch sight of it, particularly against a dark background. Even when viewing it against a bright backlighting when viewed overhead it really stands out.

Many thanks to Sue Smith for finding this amazing looking vireo. Easily my favorite bird of 2012 so far here in the county. Records of this species are scarce in the county with less than one record per year on average. They can be real skulkers, in denser habitats such as willow beds, so catching an opportunity to photograph one out in the open was a special experience. Yellow-green Vireo is a California Bird Records Committee review species with on average about three or four accepted records per year in the state.

6 thoughts on “Neon light bird – Yellow-green Vireo

  1. These pictures make it seem almost like I was fortunate enough to see the vireo myself. You got so many angles and body parts of this special visitor. What a beauty and good photo work getting such good detail. Thank you

  2. Last Friday I was looking for the YGVI at the wall about 10:30 – 11:00. I was alone except for someone with a camera that had given up and was waiting in his car for someone on the east side to locate the bird. I saw a warbler fly from the east fence into the little tree at the corner south of the eucs. It was very windy and it might have been trying to keep out of the wind. I thought it was a Tennessee Warbler since it was not a bright yellow and saw it mostly from the underside with a white eyeline and cannot say if it had a vireo bill. I was wondering if I got it wrong and what you think would be the chances it could have been the YGVI. It might be a moot matter since it has not been seen since. I am only a third-year birder and not much weight is given to my observations, but I am working on IDing the smaller birds. Your opinion would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your consideration

  3. Forget my request — I now know that it was not the vireo I saw but a Tennessee Warbler. It is just a coincidence that it appeared in the same area that the vireo was spotted.

    Thanks

  4. You know he’s back this year; in a big fig tree in the cemetery near the obelisk… I’m assuming it’s the same individual then. =]

  5. I had a pair of these birds in my back yard this past weekend. I was sitting outside with my camera watching the hummingbirds. I saw this pair of yellowish green birds fly down onto a wire and look at our fountain, which was running. One flew down for a drink and I was able to take a picture. Then they both flew off. I Googled the description of the birds, and up popped the picture above. We live about 2hrs. North of San Diego, so I am surprised to see them here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>