Thursday, May 8, 2014

San Diego Year Bird #217: Bell's Vireo

Bell's Vireo
Least Bell's Vireo. April 20, 2014. Mission Trails Park, San Diego, California. Greg Gillson.
Thirty-three years ago. That is the last (and only) time I saw the endangered Bell's Vireo. This was another of my 5 target birds for spring. So I set off for Kumeyaay Lake in Mission Trails Park. It actually didn't take long to find a pair of birds--right in the campground!

They usually are harder to actually see, singing their quick buzzy song while hidden in dense willow tangles in a few stream bottoms in southern California. Their stronghold is Camp Pendleton, the marine corps base north of Oceanside, California.

It's rather a plain bird, grayish-green with a slight hint of an eyering and a single wingbar. The heavy hook-tipped bill helps visually separate vireos from warblers.

Bell's Vireo