Warbling Vireo In A Wasatch Mountain Canyon

/, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, Utah, Warbling Vireos, Wasatch Mountains/Warbling Vireo In A Wasatch Mountain Canyon

So far obtaining high quality vireo images have eluded me, sure I have taken images of them in Florida, Montana and here in Utah but none of them have been up to my standards for various reasons. For instance, I have photos of vireos taken in Montana and Florida but the birds were partially hidden by leaves and branches, some of the photos taken here in Utah had the vireos out in the open but the birds are way too small in the frame so the images were mostly taken for ID purposes.

Warbling Vireo in a mountain canyon, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahWarbling Vireo in a mountain canyon – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

My experiences with vireos have shown me that they are as challenging to photograph as the hyperactive Ruby-crowned Kinglets and flitty warblers, they just don’t stay still and they tend to stay high up in treetops. Vireos are kind of a nemesis species for me.

Two days ago I photographed a Warbling Vireo mostly out in the open that stayed still long enough for me to fire off a burst of 24 shots. The photos aren’t great due in part to the out of focus serviceberry on the left side of the frame but to date this is my best photo of this species. I’m going to use this photo as a placeholder in my photo galleries until I take better photos of the species.

I drove up into the canyon again yesterday and my hope was to take better photos of Warbling Vireos but the photographic and bird gods weren’t smiling on me, there was visible smoke in the canyon that has come up from the fires to the south, there was a good breeze blowing which seemed to keep most of the birds down or in cover and worst of all there was a cloud from hell that kept blocking the sun which left me with low light situations for most of the morning. My chances of getting the Warbling Vireo photos I have dreamed of were awful but I went up into the canyon anyway. Predictably I was practically skunked and the only photos I took of one single Warbling Vireo had the bird too small in the frame.

I am going to keep trying to get those photos until the vireos head south on migration.

Life is good. Life is also a challenge I am ready to meet.



  1. Patty Chadwick August 12, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    I like the crisp detail of the bird against the soft, blurred background colors of the berries…very nice effect…

  2. Anita Austin August 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Mia, you are being overly critical of your work. This is a beautiful shot. The Vireo is sitting on the branch in perfect focus with a uniformly blurred background. Photographers take expert classes to learn how to get this effect. The dark and light colors of the Bird stand out from the muted pastels in the background as well. I definitely wouldn’t label it as a placeholder!

  3. Elephants Child August 12, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    I hope you can overcome this, and other challenges.
    And love the photo of this subtle charmer.

  4. April olson August 12, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Lovely. I do admit the rain and blue sky is delicious for my soul.

  5. Liz Cormack August 12, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Love this photo. The colours are so delicate. I have a few birds on my nemesis list including the Warbling Vireo.

  6. Tim Traver August 12, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Best look I’ve ever had at a Warbling Vireo, normally heard not seen. Such a nice summer song.

  7. Bob mcpherson August 12, 2018 at 6:39 am

    A challenge, yes . you are

  8. LSClem August 12, 2018 at 6:37 am

    I like this photo…..I like the way the light shows the different feather colors From the eye to the neck to the breast to the stomach, lovely washes of different colors.

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