Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-46(R81)
(Transcribed by M. G. Moody)

Common name:

LeConte's Thrasher

Scientific name: Toxostoma lecontei
Date: 07/24/81
Time: 06:38 to 06:41  [A.M.]
Length of time observed:  
Number: 1
Age: Summer - adult
Sex: ?
Location: About 200 meters east of Cottonwood Grove at Welcome Springs near Beaver Dam Wash (SW of Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah)
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 30 meters (paced off)
Optical equipment: 7 x 35 binoculars (Bushnell Featherlight)
Light Conditions: Early morning - the sun had just "touched" the bird's perch
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The length was 25-30 cm, wingspan estimated at about 25 cm (he moved too fast!)  The bill was strongly downcurved & about 6 cm long; the plumage was light gray-brown except the tail feathers (about 10 cm) appeared darker & the ventral portions appeared even lighter (i.e. throat, breast, etc.); there was a dark stripe from the base of the bill through the eye & most noticeably the under tail coverts were light.

The eye did not appear yellow but the observation was not a long one.

Song or call & method of delivery: A single "harsh" call was uttered from a perch.
Behavior: As the sun rose over the Beaver Dam Mountains to the east, a thrasher which had apparently been in the shrub jumped up on the top & called once.  It turned its head to both sides, raised its tail, then flew to the base of a nearby mesquite & disappeared from view.  I was unsuccessful in attempts to relocate him.
Habitat: Foothills - transition mesquite, yucca to juniper (sparse) & cottonwoods & unidentified shrubs in a nearby spring drainage.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Sage Thrasher - has streaked breast, much shorter bill, white wing-bars, darker plumage

Bendire's Thrasher - shorter bill & lightly streaked breast, darker plumage

Crissal Thrasher - has darker plumage & Rusty under tail coverts

Cactus Wren - smaller, heavily streaked, white superciliary line

Previous experience with
this & similar species:
This was a new species for me.  I have several observations of Sage, Crissal & Bendire's Thrashers
References consulted:  
Description from: notes made during and after observation
Observer: Austin Ray Johnson
Observer's address: 1812 Alder, Richland, Washington  99352
Observer's e-mail address:  
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Forrest Luke (1650 Dewar Drive #64, Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901) told me of seeing this species near this area in June 1981.  That report plus Merrill Webb & I saw a "light-colored" thrasher near this site in ... [something missing from photocopy -- Merrill can't help with the missing information.]
Date prepared: [assumed in 1981]
Additional material: Original Record
Additional comments: