Date: 11/16/17 11:12 am From: <wforsythe...> Subject: Bell's Vireo/Warren Wilson College, NC
Ron Selvey and I arrived at Warren Wilson College at about 9:10 AM, this morning. In the rear of garden, near the small, outhouse looking shed, we talked to Tom Bush and Kirk. They had seen the bird at this location a short time earlier and gave us the best information they had. Shortly after they left, I got brief, but diagnostic views of this very lovely bird. The vireo was flying from behind the shed to the ground in the small, hillside garden. During this time, it made 4 trips from the rear of the shed area, to the ground in the garden and then disappeared! We stayed at this location for about an hour or so without seeing the bird again.
Ron and I then walked back towards the main road, working the hillside. Just as we got to the fence line along Warren Wilson Road, I picked up the bird as it flew off the hillside and into the vegetation along the fence line. We then watched this little guy for about 20 minutes, low to the ground, always staying in cover, while working his way towards the bridge. During this period, 5 of us got very adequate views of this bird. I was trying to keep it in sight, as Keith Camburn was coming up from Gastonia. During the wait, we lost sight of this bird for about 30 minutes.
Upon Keith's arrival, Keith immediately picked up the bird as it flew from the fence line, back to the hillside, in the direction of the shed, located in the back of the garden, where we first saw the bird. Five of us watched this bird forage, in very good light for about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the folks with the cameras departed earlier, missing some wonderful photo opportunities.
I have no doubt in my mind, that this bird is definitely a Bell's Vireo of the Eastern bellii subspecies. I do believe the photos being circulated are indeed diagnostic as well. Thanks to Jim Polling for another fantastic find and to Steve Ritt for getting the word out, as well as to the folks who shared their information enabling many folks to see this very special, bird.