28 Sep 2011

Surrounded by Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo above

Sometimes when I head out on bird watch, especially during migration, I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of birds all around me.  At times this means a variety of bird species and other times it simply means large numbers of the same species.   Of course I prefer the former, although when it is a bird I have never seen before, the large numbers increase my chances at decent photos.

Very recently I came across the Red-eyed Vireo in the River Valley on just such an occasion.  At the time I didn't know what I was looking at.  I only knew that I had sighted something new, which is of course always fantastic and exiting.

Red-eyed Vireo to the left
Red-eyed Vireo to the right
 It was the noise they were making that attracted me to the little area on an out of the way trail where they were feeding.  When I arrived, I was delighted to see such a concentration of birds.  They were literally all around me and not at all shy about being seen.  In fact, there were so many of them, that I didn't know where to point the camera and of course, being flycatchers, they were never still for more than a second or two.
Red-eyed Vireo directly above

I finally decided to focus on the bushes on just one side of the trail and attempt to track just individual birds with my camera lens for as long as I could.  At first the sound of the camera startled the birds, but they soon got used to it, and thankfully chose to ignore it in favor of continuing their hunt for food.  I of course breathed a sigh of relief, since often birds will fly off because of the strange sound.

Red-eyed Vireo close up
The Red-eyed Vireo is olive green on the back and white underneath.  It has a gray head that is edged in black and red eyes with a black line through them.  They also have yellow undertail coverts, which may be very faint in certain populations.  This bird is quite common and, I'm happy to say,  is thriving in open forests throughout Canada.


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