[Tweeters] Texas Mystery Bird

Richard Schneider rchrdschndr at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 14:00:45 PDT 2009


My old stomping grounds! Brazos Bend was one of the don't-miss spots around
Houston. (15-20 years ago...hope that hasn't changed, like too much else.)

I would discount Bell's vireo, it's rare/vagrant on the upper TX coast; try
south/west of Corpus Christi. The Bells' that I have seen did have that sort
of slim, scruffy look, in the manner of least flycatcher; and the coloring
is roughly right except the yellow throat.

I can't see that bill on any vireo though -- it looks like Vermivora to me.
Like Mr. Marsh I'd consider Tennessee (female as well as imm.) and
orange-crowned warblers. Orange-crown winters there and is fairly common
till mid-April -- but Tennessee is very rare in March. Remember TX is not
like the PNW -- mostly the migrant vireos & warblers are common only
during 2- to 4- week windows in April to mid-May, with fairly sharp
"shoulders," on a chart. Not carved in stone, but you can almost set a
calendar by it.

I think the eye markings lack clarity, for Tennessee. There are a few things
I don't entirely like for OC -- the contrast of the yellow on the throat to
the grayer head, the grayness of the back & wings; overall I'd say it's not
greenish enough. I think the eye marks and faint breast streaking are
adequate for the species. (Southern orange-crowns are often gray-greener
than ours, less yellowish, BTW.) How much tinting to allot to the camera,
the light, the leaves above, etc.? Looks like a pretty clear day which tends
to blue out gray-greens.

What color was the vent area? That could nail it.

Anyway orange-crowned would be my guess (sorry!).

Richard Schneider
Port Angeles, WA
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