Bird # 318 for Vancouver - another Vancouver Mega!

Today I successfully chased a Philadelphia Vireo. Although these birds breed in Northern BC they never come down to the south coast of BC. The bird was photographed yesterday by Quentin Brown and identified as a Warbling Vireo I mean who would think they are seeing a Philadelphia Vireo in Vancouver? A late Warbling would make much more logical sense! Well I asked Quentin for some photos because I wanted to rule out Philadelphia and as soon as I saw the 1/2 dozen photos and video I said it looked good to me for Philadelphia Vireo. It was so bright yellow ventrally and the head looked right for Philadelphia. Since I am cautious I listed it on the RBA as Possible and sent it to a few friends and experienced birders, banders and ornithologist Peter Pyle who all confirmed it. It was a HY bird.

When I got to Hastings Park,  Mike Toochin and Mike Tabak were searching in the pouring rain. After an hour of searching with Peter Candido who drove in right beside me Mike Toochin spotted the bird in a mixed Kinglet/Chickadee flock. It was so brilliant yellow with dark lores between the eye and bill, it was also smaller than a Warbling Vireo. It gave quick but clear views allowing no doubt on the id and then it and the whole flock disappeared. Try as we might we couldn't relocate it for another couple of hours and then it gave us another 2 brief views but nice and in the open by this time Rob Lyske had arrived and shows us a Barred Owl. We were all happy for him and were chit-chatting by the bridge when Mario Lam was still actively looking and said there it is above our heads! We looked up and sure enough there it was giving the best and longest views yet and we snapped off some more decent pics. Peter and I had got awful pics before so were glad we got more decent ones this time.  Mike Klotz had also got good views after his arrival and just like that it was gone again..

An hour and 1/2 later Joachim Bertrands relocated it in the NW corner of the park for very happy Carlo Giovanella and Roger Foxall. It was not seen again after 3:00pm despite multiple observers looking but others did find a Swamp Sparrow. Even though it was pouring rain most of the day I was comfy in full rain gear and I found it super enjoyable because the park was so birdy! We saw a Cooper's Hawk, Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Downy Woodpecker, Wood Duck, Mallards, Juncos, Brown Creepers, Robins, Crows, Barred Owl, Spotted Towhees, Song and Fox Sparrows, Bushtits and Black-capped Chickadees. Wherever we looked there were birds so it made birding in the rain fun.

The last recorded sighting of a Philadelphia Vireo in Metro Vancouver was Oct 28, 1973 and the bird stayed until Nov 17th so there is a very good chance that with all this rain the bird will continue and remain for several days for people to see. I sure hope so! This bird just requires lots of patience and for people to look for the large flock of Chickadees and Kinglets and then to study that flock hard. When you see the bird it really stands out like a sore thumb. The bird today vocalized for us and it sounds like a Red-eyed Vireo in a way but slower and more high pitched.

This was a new Metro Vancouver Bird for me and bird #318. This year we have had some great Vanouver megas. I got 5 new Vancouver Birds in the past 3 months! A Little Stint, Snowy Plover, Arctic Tern, Red Phalarope and now this Philly Vireo!

It also is a new Metro Vancouver year bird for me. I am currently in the 260's so I am hoping with a few more rarities I can get to my goal of 270.

Who knows if I'll get there but it sure is fun to try.

Congrats again to Quentin Brown on his incredible find for Vancouver!

Record shot of a Philadelphia Vireo at Hastings Park in Vancouver 


  1. Congratulations! I am envious of all Vireo sightings as my son is named for a Vireo. This one and your photo of it are really special, obviously. Congrats to you too.

    1. Thanks bryony which vireo did you name him after?

    2. It would have to be a hutton's or a warbling vireo, as they are the most common around seattle!


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