Gray Vireo in Kern Co. (29 June)
- This early afternoon while birding along Cerro Noroeste Rd. in extreme
southwestern Kern County I observed a Gray Vireo. The bird was 1.72 miles up
from the Mil Potrero Rd. It was about 100 yards past a large turnoff on the
downhill side of the road at a curve (GPS coordinates N34.84741 W119.22531).
The bird was in what I consider classic habitat for this species based on my
experiences from my time in sw. Utah- medium height chaparral with openings
and scattered Pinyon Pines. I was calling for Sage and Black-chinned
Sparrows (no luck) when three Oak Titmice and a Bewick's Wren responded. I
then noticed a silent all gray bird a short distance up-slope sitting on top
of the chaparral looking at me also. It was very round headed with a
complete thin eyering, short stout bill, and was flipping its tail up and
down. It took me a few seconds to run through the possibilities when it hit
me that it was a Gray Vireo. And then it dove down into the brush and
disappeared. I then tried calling it off and on for about another 45 minutes
but never saw the bird again. I left as the clouds were roiling up from the
lowlands obscuring the sun and a strong wind began to blow.
I had visited Mt. Pinos and San Emigdio Mtn., and was on my way back down
Cerro Noroeste when I found the bird. The day was quit unusual for late
June, Mt. Pinos was socked in with low clouds and drippy trees in the early
a.m. and I never saw the temperature above 59 degrees all day even though
the sun was out later. The only other bird of note was an adult California
Condor which flew low overhead as I was driving back down San Emigdio Mtn.