[Tweeters] SPOILER ALERT - Mystery call identified!

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Sun Mar 1 11:23:33 PST 2015

Hello Tweets,

Since posting my question yesterday morning, I have received 13 requests to try to ID the bird. Many have returned the same answer. At the Brambling stakeout, I asked the question to a few birders. They also came to the same conclusion. The answer is...

Hutton's Vireo!

Quite a good yardbird, according to the birders at the stakeout, and a bird that I've wanted to see for a while. Funny that I heard it just after completing a list of all the bird species seen in my yard! I could add one more tick to the list and make it 51.

And the story has one more chapter. After returning from the Brambling excitement, I decided to take a walk to my local park, Ellis Pond. I had two goals: to give my dog some entertainment and exercise, and to see some House Finches, which are scarce in my yard, but that are very numerous along one stretch of road, which I call the "House Finch street". I wanted to have a 5-finch day! Brambling, Purple Finch, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Red Crossbill.

After seeing many House Finches and reaching my goal of 5 finch species, I walked further into the park. Pacific Wrens, juncos and Anna's Hummingbirds sang. The resident population of well-fed Mallards plied the lake, as well as two Hooded Mergansers. A Brown Creeper climbed a nearby oak, and a nuthatch pounded a snag with all the force of a woodpecker. That snag, by the way, had a Pileated roost/nest cavity.

Then, I heard it. The song of the Hutton's Vireo. Unlike the previous night's bird which had a down-slurred song, this one had an endless string of the same up-slurred note.

I inched closer to where it was, and then I saw it, singing on an exposed branch! Like a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but different somehow; a thicker bill, perhaps.

I got a photo and video, watched it for a few minutes, and when it disappeared into a cedar, I headed home happily.

So, there's the story. A mystery solved, a Hutton's Vireo seen, and one happy birder who both saw a Brambling and had a 5-finch day!

By the way, I have a question: yesterday, I watched an Anna's Hummingbird dive to impress his lady. And each time he rose, a few drops of excrement glinted as the fell. Has anyone else observed this? I also did not know that they do a backflip at the peak of their rise in order to come down right-side up!

Good birding to all, Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

Josh.n.glant at gmail.com

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