Cassin's Vireo

Vireo cassinii


eBird Checklist S39552959
Monhegan Island
Lincoln, Maine, United States
Search this location, Illustrated Checklist
Latitude and Longitude 43.7657, -69.3131 Map



Observation details

***MEGA. I tried to upload my full write-up but it was too long for eBird to handle, so just the bullet points first and shortened version of story: -no contrast between cheek and throat, even high up near the gape -very narrow, diffuse, even white edge on the outer rectrices -pale grayish-green head with greenish wash over nape, crown, and into auriculars -pale, dusty-yellow flanks -dull whitish underparts -dark lores contrast more with pale head (not sure how reliable this is; see Jeremiah Trimble and I found this bird at around 7:15am on Friday 29 September. We were walking from the Lupine Gallery up the road to the dock, and stopped before the crest of the hill at the clearing on the right where there is a nice shrubby patch in front of some spruces. There was a small flock of birds moving around, and I think we both spotted the vireo independently as it popped out on the edge. I said something like “hey, this vireo is pretty dull…uh…hey no, it’s seriously dull…” and Jeremiah and I both rattled off some photos and watched the bird for a couple minutes before it disappeared around the back side of the thicket. A few things were immediately apparent, and caused us to entertain the idea that this could have been a Cassin’s Vireo (a possibility that I didn’t even really want to think about – it seems like one of those birds that’s “never quite good enough” in the east). The head in general was exceptionally dull, with a complete lack of contrast between the cheek and throat. Even the dullest Blue-headeds I’ve seen in the Northeast seem to always show pretty sharp contrast close to the gape, even if they fade out further down the cheek – but this bird was uniformly washed out all the way up to the bill. This was very obvious in the field. The color of the head was quite pale and grayish-greenish, without much of the darker slaty blue-gray tones of a typical Blue-headed. There was a clean wash of greenish up the nape, so no back-to-head contrast, although I think this can be matched by dull Blue-headeds. The rest of the underparts were pale, too – the flanks were washed with pale yellow, but certainly not bright, and even the white breast and belly lacked much pizzazz. I certainly don’t see anything that looks better for Blue-headed than it does for Cassin’s. I spoke with Chris Wood about this bird, and he agreed that it looked perfect for Cassin’s, and the only potential problem would be eliminating a hybrid – but of course, we can’t ever do that, nor do I want to go there. To my eyes, this is about as good as it gets for Cassin’s Vireo.

Technical Information

Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Lens model
EF500mm f/4L IS USM
Focal length
500 mm
Shutter speed
1/4000 sec
Flash did not fire, auto
Original file size
1861 x 1423

Related Media

Same Observation

View All

Same Checklist

View All

Same Species

View All