One of my goals in spring birding is a good look at a frequently heard but not often well common forest nesting birds, Red-eyed Vireo. Now they seem everywhere, even for a day or two in my yard in urban Fayetteville. In the big forest, say Devilís Den or Hobbs, they really do seem everywhere, judged by vocalizations.
I look up, watch, see leaf boughs move, and then a mostly white small flash. Typically, thatís about it for me and Red-eyed Vireo.
Years ago I was at the Yellow Rock overlook in Devilís Den. Its way up there on the hillside overlooking Lee Creek valley and the Den. Thereís a great view of the hardwood canopy at eye level. Once back then I was looking DOWN on them. Thereís the creamy belly, but thatís not whatís prominent. Light hits the eye ĖRED of its name. Thereís a dove gray head, a fine black line through the eye. Light hits its back, which is a fine green, like female Painted Buntings. I felt rescued from that ennui: ďItís just another Red-eyed Vireo. Where are the GOOD birds?Ē
This experience I had again today. I was birding where highway 74 from Winslow reaches the Den. It is one of the highest places there. At one spot you drop down off the road into the forest with a look into the canopy not so neck-straining. Saw a Red-eyed Vireo there, the good way. A nice shaft of light through the hardwood canopy illuminating the red eye and the green back. It was just a moment, but a very good one.