E Wash--R E Vireo
East Wash is still a happening place! I refound the Ash-th Flycatcher in the
lace and fennel stalks above the dirt terrace; later saw it up in the euc
tops preening. The Willow Flyc may also still be there, twice I saw a small
empidish bird giving the 'whit' call in flight, but it never landed in view
to confirm ID.
I'd been there awhile when I saw movement up in the eucs along the golf
course. It turned out to be a chickadee and a vireo having a little faceoff.
I was about to call it a Cassin's when it turned its head more toward me and
showed a long dark eyeline, and I realized that there were no wingbars.
Simultaneously, the bird gave a single 'cheeri' call. It was noticeably
larger than the chickadee; though hard to judge how much larger, I would say
at least an inch so. This view was at some distance and from below, I did
not see the vireo's back or cap, and it vanished after a few seconds.
5 minutes later, I heard a vireo scold in the euc grove, and as I approched,
the chickadees began calling too. The scold was intermittant, and I couldn't
locate it. Then David Armstrong approached, and the bird began to sing, more
quickly and fluidly than the Cassin's I've heard in the past month. I
finally found the singer, and had several brief looks from almost directly
below, I could see the rather large beak, the white throat and belly, but
nothing else. It was very actively foraging in the crown of the eucs where
the east wash trail meets the main coast trail. Then it went silent and
vanished without my seeing it leave.
We searched for some time, and as I came back to report to David, he had
turned into Rich Ferrick (a lifer after all these months!). So I reported to
him and then tried to leave, but by the willows at the edge of the course, I
again saw what was probably the vireo; 6 inches or so, strong beak and
eyeline, but it was a split-second view through willow and pine branches. As
I was looking to see if Rich was still down in the wash, I heard an odd call,
and was beginning to think that we had another chat, when the Leafbird came
flying over the golf course and into the trees. I called down to Rich, and
we found the Leafbird but not the vireo. That's it for now,