On a birdwatching outing to Second Marsh Wildlife Area in Oshawa, Ontario, Bob and I couldn’t have been more pleased at our sightings of the day. Amongst the numerous birds that we saw was this Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus).
Second Marsh Wildlife Area is a dynamic ecosystem that supports a rich and diverse wildlife community. It is a 123 hectare coastal wetland on the north shore of Lake Ontario.
Bob and I set out on the Marshland Trail but eventually found ourselves next to a forest that is part of the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve, an adjoining area of protected land. It was an unseasonably hot day for early May, and a light breeze constantly ruffled the leaves of the trees.
It was in the area opposite the open waters of Second Marsh that the magnificent song of a Warbling Vireo attracted our attention. With the thick leaf cover on the trees, we found it difficult to pinpoint the location of the drab little songbird.
Its song, as you will hear in our Youtube video below, was a cheerful warble that mesmerized both Bob and me, and it helped us keep up with the changing location of the bird as it moved quickly from one perch to another. It seemed that there was another Warbling Vireo nearby, that answered the sweet song of this one, so perhaps we were seeing one half of a pair.
In amongst the vibrant pink buds of a crab apple tree, the white underparts of the Warbling Vireo really stood out.
We took note of its olive-grey head and upper parts as we waited for it to burst into song yet again.
Bob and I were in no hurry that afternoon so patiently traced the flight of the vireo as it moved from one branch to another.
As I said, the Warbling Vireo moved quickly…just a grey blur amongst the green leaves. We presumed that it was foraging for insects, and while we watched, it seemed to alternate between the trees and nearby bushes.
As if to see us off as we continued on our way, the Warbling Vireo sang its long, melodious phrases one more time. They are a rapid jumble of rising and falling notes fondly compared to the verse: If I sees you, I will seize you, and I’ll squeeze you till you squirt!” I have to laugh at that little ditty because the bird, itself, is a little squirt.