Sunday, February 6, 2011

Being wrong never felt so good!

Earlier I posted these photos thinking I was sharing pictures of a Cassin's Vireo.  I even dared to suggest some ID tips as to why it was a Cassin's Vireo.  While in Arizona last week I took these photos and thought in the field that it was a Cassin's.  Admittedly, I lack regular experience with vireos other than Warbling Vireos.  I didn't have any field guides with me, so I compared my photos to those at as well as the identification tips contained therein.  The big amateurish mistake I made is keying in on the yellowish flanks and ignoring everything else.

So now, based on the fine commentators, a couple bird expert friends of mine, and additional study in my field guides, I can now tell you why this is a Plumbeous Vireo and not a Cassin's Vireo.

1.  This bird is mostly grayish whereas a Cassin's Vireo significantly more olive and yellow.
2.  The bill on this Plumbeous is larger and more stout than a Cassin's.
3.  The edges of the secondaries are gray.  A Cassin's will have greenish edges.

So, though I am a little embarrassed by my public error, I welcome the privilege of learning from my identification mistakes.  The reason being wrong never felt so good is that Plumbeous Vireo is a new life bird!!!  A little correction on my eBird checklist and bam!...Life bird #373!


  1. Congrats on the lifer and thanks for the education on this bird.

  2. Congrats on this surprise new lifer and everybody can make mistake ;-) You got nice shots of it anyway ;-)

  3. very nice! and congrats too :) Lifers are always fun!
    Awesome photos too!

  4. @Steve Creek @Chris @Johnny Nutcase - Thanks for the nice comments!

  5. Well, it is comforting to know that I am not the only one to make mistakes! What a great bird to get! Congrats on the lifer! Awesome photos by the way! And, your mistakes helped all of us learn something new!