[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.