Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-38

Common name:

Hermit Warbler

Scientific name: Dendroica occidentalis
Date: 8-25-03
Time: 1825
Length of time observed: 5 min.
Number: 1
Age: first year
Sex: female ?
Location: Lava Point, Zion National Park
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: 3385 m
Distance to bird: 5-10 m
Optical equipment: Leica 10 x 42 binoculars
Weather: overcast and calm
Light Conditions: somewhat bright, but diffused light
Detailed description of bird: A typically sized warbler with a yellow head,white wingbars, brownish back, and pale underparts.

Head relatively plain with indistinct pattern, overall dull olive yellow with a prominent dark eye and wide complete but diffuse yellow eye-ring. Indistinct brownish yellow crown and cheek patch extending from base of bill, below and behind the eye into auricular area. Throat yellowish / white, but paler than the rest of head and face. Bill black.

Underparts pale. Breast and belly grayish white, flanks buffy grayish, brightest white at undertail coverts.

Upperparts: back gray/brown. Wings with two bright distinct wingbars.

Tail dark with white outer tail feathers visible in flight. Undertail pattern white with thin dark lateral edges.
(see photos)

Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: flitting around and foraging between 3 and 20 feet high, primarilly in spruce trees,
Habitat: primarilly Spruce-Fir forest with some ponderosa and aspen interspersed.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
My primary focus was eliminating a Townsend's X Hermit hybrid, and I believe this is a clean Hermit, due to the
lack of yellow extending through throat and down onto breast and the lack of streaks on the sides. Other characters (buffy flanks, brownish rather than green back) also tend to rule out a "HETO" warbler.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
This is my second Hermit Warbler in Washington County, however I've seen them several times elsewhere. Familar with more regularly occuring warblers.
References consulted: I looked for Hermit X Townsend's hybrid descriptions in Dunn and Garrett 1997 (Warblers), Curson, Quinn, and Beadle 1994 (Warblers of the Americas), and Eckert 2001 (Hermit/Townsend's Hybrids, Birding 35(4)).
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: 3505 West 290 North, Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 10-01-03  (General Public)
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: Material is from notes taken immediately following sighting. Photographs with a Camedia digital camera.