Thursday, April 26, 2012

TX - Black-whiskered Vireo - 04/18

This bird was seen at the end of a thrilling afternoon in the TOS Sanctuary at Sabine Woods (once again!). The small woodland was loaded with migrants, especially eastern wood-warblers and thrushes. Although the Black-whiskered Vireo had been found and reported the previous day, an afternoon with no sightings left us with little hope of catching up with this state rarity. The vireo, however, had other ideas and put on a stellar show for fifteen minutes close to the road and only a few feet from where we'd parked our vehicle. Despite being a large, hefty vireo with sluggish movements, it did a great job of remaining partially obscured for nearly every photo attempt I made! 

This is the second Black-whiskered Vireo that I've seen on a Texas trip, the first being back in April 2006 at Smith Oaks in High Island. That was then about the 25th state record and others have occurred since, sometimes with several individuals in a spring. The burning question is which subspecies is involved - the Florida race V. a. barbatulus or the northern Caribbean subspecies V. a. bonairensis ? The latter is, apparently, notably longer billed than the Florida race and has occurred as a vagrant in Florida and Louisiana. 

Black-whiskered Vireo - Sabine Woods, TOS Sanctuary, Jefferson County, TX. April 18th, 2012. Some of our group saw the same individual on April 21st when we returned to search for the Tropical Mockingbird featured in the previous post.

No comments: