Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-24

Common name:

Louisiana Waterthrush

Scientific name: Seiurs Motacilla
Date: 5-4-03
Time: 4:00 PM
Length of time observed: 3 to 4 minutes
Number: 1
Location: Beaver Dam Wash 1/2 mile upstream from the Lytle Ranch boundary
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 25 to 30 feet
Optical equipment: 10x42 B & L Elites
Weather: Mostly clear and calm
Light Conditions: Good
Detailed description of bird: The upperparts were brownish gray from the forecrown to the tail including the wings. It had a pale supercilium from the supraloral area to well past the eye to the sides of the nape. The supercilium was a buffy white up to the eye, it was bright white and definitely got thicker past the eye to the nape. A brown eyeline went from the lores to the postocular area. The auriculars were mottled a pale brown white mix. It had a noticeable white arc under the eye. There was a white submoustachial. The throat was white and was bordered with a brown malar stripe. It had a long,heavy looking Warbler shaped bill. The underparts were white with quite heavy brown spotting that looked blurred on the sides and flanks. The background color on the flanks was buffy and contrasted with the clean white background color of the rest of the underparts.The tail looked very short and didn't extend far past the undertail coverts. The legs looked long and were very bright pink.
Song or call & method of delivery: The call note of the bird was a loud chic or chink. I heard the bird call 7 or 8 times on the first sighting. I came back about 1 hour later and heard it call a few more times.
Behavior: The bird responded to my pishing,not right away but after about 30 seconds or so. When I first located the bird it was standing on a small log back in a thick tangle of sticks and logs behind some Willows. I could only see parts of the bird at first but the bobbing action was what helped me find it. After about 30 seconds it flew to the ground
a few feet away where I was able to see the bird better. On the ground it would take a couple of steps then stop and then take a couple more steps. It was constantly bobbing the tail the whole time I watched it. The motion seemed to be involving more of the whole body,not just the tail moving up and down. It stayed in thick cover most of the time. Where I was only seeing parts of the bird.But I was able to see it well in small opening a couple of times.
Habitat: A small flowing stream with Willows,Mulefat and Cottonwood trees surrounded by desert scrub.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The Northern Waterthrush is the only thing you would confuse this bird with. But if seen well most birds aren't
that difficult to seperate. The supercilium of No. is of even width or tapers behind the eye and is uniform in color. The throat of No. will usually have spotting on it. I couldn't see any spotting on the throat of this bird. The background color on the underparts of No. is more uniform, not contrasting like this bird was. The bill of No. doesn't look as
long and heavy as this birds. And No. has a longer tail look to it. The legs of No. aren't as bright pink as this birds were. The tail bobbing of No. seems fast with just a up and down motion to it, not as deliberate and involving the whole body like this bird was doing.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
 I've studied several Louisiana Waterthrush's in the East and a couple in the West. I've watched many Northern
Waterthrush's in the East and the West.
References consulted: Sibley guide to birds and Warblers Dunn/Garrett
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Larry Tripp
Observer's address: 332 Wells Fargo RD. Brookside,Utah 84782
Observer's e-mail address: LTRIPP29@HOTMAIL.COM
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 6-16-03  (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: I'm very sure of the identification of this bird. I was able to see the important field marks well,which isn't always
easy with a Louisiana Waterthrush.