Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-49

Common name:

Blackpoll Warbler

Scientific name: (Dendroica striata)  [Setophaga striata]
Date: 11 October 2011
Time: 2:30 - 5:30 pm
Length of time observed: 10 minutes worth of views in 3 hours of watching the brush it was feeding in.
Number: 1
Age: 1st fall
Sex: ?
Location: Provo Airport Dike (Southwest corner).
County: Utah
Elevation: 4500
Distance to bird: 8 - 10 feet
Optical equipment: 8x42 Binoculars
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Light Conditions: Good.
Description:        Size of bird: Warbler sized
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Warbler Shaped
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Yellow head and chest, greenish back, gray wings.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Small and pointy. Warbler shaped.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Face like an Orange-crowned with a dark line through the eye and faint pale eyebrow above the dark line. Yellow of face and chest was yellower than orange-crowned (by yellower I mean more lemony, less greenish but it was also less saturated). Gray wings with contrasting white wingbars. Yellow chest and head, Greenish back and rump, white belly and very white undertail coverts. White markings on underside of tail feathers. Pale grayish streaks on sides of chest. No dark auriculars against a paler throat, I looked carefully at the face. I didn't think to note foot color while I was in the field watching the bird.
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: It was feeding deep in a clump of Tamarisk. It mostly stayed deep in the brush. I stared at that Tamarisk for 3 hours and only got a few clear looks and several very obstructed looks. There were also a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Marsh Wrens and Black-capped Chickadees in the bush.
Habitat: A clump of Tamarisk along a moat. Airport on the North side, Utah Lake to the West and a line of trees then Provo Bay to the South.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Bay-breasted Warbler - I couldn't see any reddish wash at all on the sides of the bird. This bird had gray streaks on the sides of the chest. The streaks looked grayish an not just a darker streak of the background yellow color. A Bay-breasted shouldn't have such obvious streaks. I got a very good look at the undertail coverts on this bird and they were very bright clean white. A Bay-breasted should have buffy undertail coverts.

Pine Warbler - I looked carefully at the face of this bird for a hint of the dark auriculars against the paler throat that a Pine Warbler should show.

Hermit, Townsend's and Black-throated Green Warblers would have contrasting auriculars, a much different face pattern.

Yellow-rumped Warbler would have a yellow rump and a different face pattern. Yellow would be concentrated on the throat and a spot on the sides. Not evenly on face, chest and sides.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have little experience with Blackpoll, Bay-breasted and Pine Warbler and have only seen each a few times. I have never seen a Blackpoll in this plumage before.

I have lots of experience with all of our common Utah warblers.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds App in field. Photos on the internet and other field guides when I got home.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Eric Huish
Observer's address: 850 E 100 N Pleasant Grove, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Bryan Shirley said he got a glimpse of it that evening. I don't know how well he saw it?
Date prepared: 15 & 19 October
Additional material: