Tag Archives: Blue-headed Vireo

“To be green” in the woods at River Park Marina, PSL

Gray Catbird on an island in the St. Lucie River.

I visited River Park Marina in Port St. Lucie a few days ago. It’s a county park with a boat ramp, picnic pavilion, playground and fishing boardwalks on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River.


It also has a short trail through the woods with live oaks, cabbage palms, and a thick and varied understory.

It’s an eBird HotSpot with a decent number of bird sightings, though not for me that day – but I will be back now that I know about this place.

The trail winds along near the water and you can see across the river in many spots.

The area is part of the North Fork, St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve.

Nestled into the urban sprawl of Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and Stuart is a quiet and scenic retreat – perfect for viewing manatees, birds, turtles and alligators from a canoe or kayak.

Blue-headed Vireo with a backdrop of Spanish moss. These migratory songbirds heading north soon for breeding season.

Vireo is a genus of small passerinebirds restricted to the New World. Vireos typically have dull greenish plumage (hence the name, from Latin virere, “to be green”), but some are brown or gray on the back and some have bright yellow underparts.

Virere, “to be green.” Nice.

Wildflowers along the trail. This is a Climbing Aster. It lives in woods and wetlands in the coastal plain from Florida to North Carolina.

The trail had a magical, peaceful, old Florida feeling about it. Good for the soul!

River view.

The cabbage palms get really tall near this river, I’ve noticed.

Is it because they are well watered? Or competing for sunlight?

The trail is there-and-back, not looping, and on the way back I saw my little catbird friend again.

Back at the parking area, I noticed a pair of nesting Ospreys on a platform.

Backyard birds today

I’ve been busy with a new puppy and haven’t had time to get out “in the field,” but this morning some birds – like this adorable Blue-headed Vireo – came to my backyard.

The song of the Northern Parula was what got me to poke my head out and check the trees. Hard to ignore.

A small warbler of the upper canopy, the Northern Parula flutters at the edges of branches plucking insects. This bluish gray warbler with yellow highlights breeds in forests laden with Spanish moss or beard lichens, from Florida to the boreal forest, and it’s sure to give you “warbler neck.” It hops through branches bursting with a rising buzzy trill that pinches off at the end. Its white eye crescents, chestnut breast band, and yellow-green patch on the back set it apart from other warblers.https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Parula/overview

I believe this one was an immature male. (ID info HERE.)

This laurel oak in our side yard is flowering, which attracts insects, which attracts insect eaters.

This Northern Parula is an adult male.

Also had a visit from a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

These warblers are with us in winter – bird time in Florida!

Blue-headed vireo


Here is the Blue-headed Vireo I watched for a few minutes this morning in an old live oak tree near the Henry Sewall House in Indian RiverSide Park.


Have I ever mentioned how much I love the writing at Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds? …

The Blue-headed Vireo offers a pleasing palette of moss green, bluish gray, and greenish yellow, set off by bold white “spectacles” (the eyering plus a “loral” spot next to the bill), throat, and belly. The wings and tail are a sharp black and white. Like most larger vireos, Blue-headed forages for insects and their larvae in trees, moving deliberately along branches, where it can be challenging to spot. Males sing a slow, cheerful carol, often the first indication of the species’ presence in a forest.

That “slow cheerful carol” was what got me to look up into the tree I was passing under.


Nearby, a gray squirrel.


It’s spring in Florida.

Blue-headed vireo


This is a Blue-headed Vireo, I now know.

Vireos are a hard category for relatively new birders like me. When I got home from my morning walk in Sewall’s Point with camera, I downloaded my photos, saw this one, and Google “warbler white eye ring two wing bars” then looked at the photos that came up. Looked like a Blue-headed Vireo but I thought I would get confirmation from What’s This Bird? on Facebook…

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 9.42.40 AM

The power of the internet.

So they are not warblers.

Audubon.org: How to Tell Vireos From Warblers, Flycatchers, and Kinglets
Before you start identifying vireos, you need to stop confusing them with other similar families of songbirds.

Florida bird #79 and 2018 bird #49.