Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2016-36

Common name:

Blue-headed Vireo

Scientific name: Vireo solitarius
Date: September 15, 2016
Time: 8:45 am
Length of time observed: 10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Unsure
Sex: Unsure
Location: Antelope Island State Park - Garr Ranch
County: Davis
Latilong: ?
Elevation: ?
Distance to bird: 10-30 yards.
Optical equipment: Nikon Monarch 10X42 Binoculars, Canon 7D w/ Canon 100-400mm lens.
Weather: Partly cloudy morning.
Light Conditions: First saw it indirect sunlight (barn was obscuring the rising sun). Later was able to view it in and get a couple of decent photos in great light conditions.
Description:        Size of bird: Small. Warbler/vireo size.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Shaped like a typical solitary vireo.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Yellow/green flanks and back, dark colored head, white throat and belly.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Short, but relatively thick bill (compared to warblers).
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Bright greenish yellow wash on the flanks and the back/mantle. White wing-bars and feathering on the back of the wings. White "spectacles" stood out on a dark face. Strong, sharp contrast between the face and the throat providing a very clean look.

I ran into a professional bird photographer/tour guide from North Carolina at the ranch a week later and showed him several photos of the Vireo. I didn't tell him what I believed the bird was and he independently identified it as a Blue-headed Vireo.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Did not vocalize.
Behavior: Associating with a mixed flock of migrating birds in the small area near the bathrooms. It was seen with several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 4-5 Wilson's Warblers, Audubon's Warblers, and a few other odds and ends. No other vireos were in this area, although I saw many Cassin's throughout the rest of the ranch.
Habitat: Sparsely wooded area near the bathrooms.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Cassin's Vireo: The vireo showed very bright coloring on the back and the flanks, more so than typically expected for even the bright Cassin's. The head was also very dark, quite noticeably in good direct lighting. It contrasted heavily with the throat as well as the rest of the body, especially the back. A fine sharp line separated the throat from the dark "hood".

Plumbeous Vireo: Presence of green/yellow coloring eliminates Plumbeous.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Have encountered them several times in eastern states.
References consulted: Compared photos to the Sibley and National Geographic Field Guides.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Kendall Watkins
Observer's address: 2622 W Dry Creek Drive, Riverton, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: October 2, 2016
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: