Monday, October 10, 2011

Remembering the White Vermillion Flycatcher


Leucistic Vermillion flycatcher 1-4-10 Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson, AZ

As many of you know, I used to live in Tucson, AZ. When I lived there, one of my favorite places to go birding was Sweetwater Wetlands. I could go there almost any day of the year and see 30 to 50 species of birds in just a couple of hours. I would often get lost in my birdy world wandering the paths and watching birds. At times like that, time just stood still for me. On this day in January of 2010 I saw the most remarkable bird of all, a leucistic Vermillion Flycatcher. I did not even know it was hanging out there, but some other birders I met on the path alerted me to its existence. It wasn’t long before I found it and was able to snap off quite a few shots.

DSC_0003 Normal Male Vermillion flycatcher 1-4-10

Leucisism is a little understood and much disputed color mutation in birds according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web site. It is not albinism, which is a total lack of melanin in the cells and would cause a bird to have pink eyes and skin. Birds with leucism have some pigment but it is not deposited in the feathers for some reason as I understand it. You can see that this Vermillion Flycatcher has dark eyes and some pigment in the skin on its back where it would normally have a mink brown mantle. However,the feathers all appear white.

Since I can’t offload any more photos on my regular computer yet, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at this magnificent bird which I will never forget!

4_0145 Aren’t I cute!

Computer Troubles Update: I have found a good computer guy through a friend and he was here today looking at everything. My PC is still good, it just needs more storage. He is going to help me solve that problem, plus help me finally get all my data off my last 2 computer hard drives! Yay! Meanwhile, I am still limping along on this old laptop which Dawn Fine helped me download Live Writer onto but I have very little access to photos right now. These photos are currently on this laptop and I do not even remember how they got here! I know. I’m hopeless. However, at least I can do limited blogging and check my email, so that is good.  Later this week I am headed to Colchester again to help my Mom who is undergoing a medical procedure. I will be back again soon and birding as I go.

Andover Update: The weather here has been phenomenal after a brief cold front moved through last week and caused a bird fall out at the bog and in my yard. I saw my first Black-throated Green Warbler in my yard, along with the first White-throated sparrows of the fall on October 6th. I took photos at the bog that are still in my camera waiting to be offloaded. Today I saw my first ever yellow-bellied sapsucker in the the yard, so that’s two new yard birds in two weeks! It doesn’t get any better than that!

And that’s a look at My Birdy World on…

Our World Tuesday!


  1. What a fantastic post -- you got some wonderful pictures of this beautiful bird (they'd be good even if it wasn't such a rare one). Fabulous. (I won't say I'm glad you couldn't download new photos, but I am glad you ran these repeats, since I'm a new reader of your lovely blog!) Thanks. Good luck with the 'puter repair (I hate when that happens!)

  2. What a pretty little thing. Glad your computer can be salvaged after all! I saw bird #300 a couple of days ago - Sabine's Gulls!! I was pretty excited! ~karen

  3. That flycatcher certainly is unusual.

    Glad the computer problems are being worked on. Always frustrating. Hang in there.

  4. That flycatcher is a beauty!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  5. Most interesting! I'd never heard of leucisism before. That's great you're seeing new birds in your world!

  6. Oh my - that bird is very cute! Such gorgeous shots.

  7. Hi Kathie-
    I remember that leucistic Vermilion Flycatcher. She was known as Lucy! Gorgeous photos you took of her. Yes, Sweetwater Wetlands is a gem of a place. Glad your computer issues seem to be getting better.

  8. i'm so happy to come over here and see all your beautiful bird photos!! i have never seen a vermillion Flycatcher!! wow! what a beauty!! and the WHITE vermillion. WoW!! and the picture with her head cocked to the CUTE!

    sorry to hear of your comp troubles! ugh. but at least you're getting it all straightened out. have a good week. :)

  9. What a cool sighting and a pretty bird! I have seen the Vermillion Flycatcher and they are beautiful birds. Wonderful photos, Kathie!

  10. Sallie, thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the bird!

    KaHolly, congrats on #300! I have never seen a Sabine's gull! How fortunate you are!

    Gaaelyn, I am hanging in there. It sure helps to have this laptop to use!

    Gary, why thank you!

    Jeanelle, it is something I only learned about a few years ago. this was the first bird I had seen with it. Thank you for visiting.

    Ladyfi, thank you!

    Donna, were you there with me? I know I was with someone but can't remember who! LOL!

    Laura, I'm glad you popped in! Always nice to read your comments! That bird sure was a cutie!

  11. Eileen, thank you. I fell in love with this species the first time I saw it. What amazing colors and the female is so cute too!

  12. Kathie, that is one sweet little bird. I so miss your Arizona posts.
    Sorry about all your computer problems. When it comes to computers, I am an utter dunce. Thank goodness for my grandchildren!
    Sorry I have not been around, my sister has had a very malignant brain tumour removed and I am taking the train to Melbourne on Friday to be with her. She is my last remaining sibling and the repository for all my childhood memories of the hard times in WW!!.

  13. Hi Katie...unbelievable the Leucistic Vermillion Flycatcher was lucky on that one !!
    Well I hope all goes well with the computer troubles and your time with your Mom!!


  14. Hi Kathie

    Wow that was a great once in a life time sighting. Ali the best with your PC overhaul.



Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.