One White Ring – One White Bar

To sum up this month in one word I’d have to go with BUSY.  Day long meetings at work, project Aaauuunnnnoold moved into a new phase (getting close) and then there’s that little thingy called a half looming just over a week away.  A wave of relief came over me when the monthly post count came up to 5.  Whew, only one more to close out this month and the pictures for two posts were already completed and in the hopper.    The best way I can think of to end this month is to feature a Bird!

Not just your ordinary Bird post though, this one is a Mystery Bird post … translated, one that needs some assistance from my loyal readers.  To set the stage, this particular bird was taken at Red Rock Canyon on our trip to Las Vegas back in Nov 2012 (better late than never).  Unfortunately, I was unable to get a full on shot of this bird.  It preferred to stay semi-hidden among the rocks.  They had “Area under restoration” signs up so respected their wishes – cost me a good angle on a new bird.. but if photographer’s can’t respect nature… we are doomed as a society.

To be honest, I need your help in identifying this bird – hit the jump to see which direction I’m leaning towards!

From a features perspective, two characteristics really stand out.  The white eyeliner is wide and prominent.  The other key feature is the wing barring.  From the shots that did make it into the tin, there is one horizontal bar about the midpoint and then white or possibly buff highlights that run perpendicular to the bar (or aligned to the wing if you want to think of it that way).  Beyond that you basically have a grey on grey bird with a fairly short black beak.  After page skimming through the reference library and searching all over the net, five options came to the top.

  • Gray Vireo
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Townsend Solitaire
  • Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
  • Dusky Flycatcher

Each and every one of those birds sport the white eye ring so that doesn’t help to narrow it down any.  Another easy filter is region.  Turns out the Least Flycatcher is out of range for where we were at so taking that off the list – down to 4.  Next up the single white bar.  Per the reference shots, the Blue-Gray is sans bar and the Dusky has TWO bars.  Knock those two options off and we are looking at only two left – the Gray Vireo and the Townsend.    The latter does have a white bar, but according to my new Peterson Field Guild to Birds I picked up on my trip to Denver, there are buffy wing patches – per their drawn pictures it resembles tanish highlights along the wing.  My bad for not getting more of the tail so we could tell how long it was and whether it had highlights or not.

So, time to bring in my expert identifier – Linda – she chose the Townsend.  I’m leaning to the Gray Vireo.  Anybody willing to weigh in?  Note, don’t limit yourself to the choices I provided if you have other ideas.

Thanks in advance!

3 thoughts on “One White Ring – One White Bar”

  1. Wow, if I had to state an opinion I would go with the Gray Vireo over the Townsend Solitaire, but only by the width of a hydrogen atom. As you say, it’s too bad we can’t see the tail–that might have helped a little. It looks like the Townsend Solitaire generally has a longer tail than the Gray Vireo.



  2. You did see where Linda picked the Townsend right … Linda, Townsend … sure you don’t want to change your recommendation – I’m the one who picked the Vireo… or are you finally coming round hehehehe

    Definitely wishing I had the full tail – thinking we’ll stick with the Vireo – ANOTHER CHECK!


  3. I did see that Linda picked the Townsend, but of course my opinion has never been influenced by the particular position held by either of you. Totally unbiased, as always.



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