Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Northern Parula

Scientific name: Setophaga americana
Date: 5-27-2012
Time: 830 am
Length of time observed: 1-2 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Dixie Red Hills Golf Course
County: Washington
Elevation: ~3000 ft
Distance to bird: between 50 and 75 feet
Optical equipment: Leupold 10x42 binoculars
Weather: Clear, no wind, 60-65 degrees farenheit
Light Conditions: Bright, clear, shaded at times in tree
Description:        Size of bird: Small
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Warbler- Small passerine
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Blue with yellow throat and red speckling on breast
(Description:)            Bill Type: pointed.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
During initial observation, I was able to determine it was a SMALL, blue warbler with white wing bars and a short tail. I did not immediately see the breast area. It continued to forage actively for about 30 seconds; only allowing shaded, obstructed views. After that time, it flew into a lighted area with many dead leaves, allowing an unobstructed view of red chest speckling and yellow throat. This was the best look I had after the first observation. After approximately 30 seconds of feeding, I lost sight of the bird and was unable to find it again.
Song or call & method of delivery: No song or call heard
Behavior: Active feeding approximately 50-60 feet in mature cottonwood. Moved quickly from branch to branch, pausing only momentarily.
Habitat: Mature cottonwood trees in long row on golf course, no understory, short turfgrass lawn covering ground. Scattered mesquite, pine, tamarisk, and elm trees in area. Large pond and dense trees within 150 feet.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Blue-gray Gnatchatcher: Does not have red speckling on chest, shows no yellow, gray overall with long black tail.

Western Bluebird: Thrush, large relative to warblers, solid orange breast, no wing bars

Tropical Parula: Extreme rarity- never sighted in UT, Speckling on breast solid

Cerulean Warbler: Shows no red speckling.

Lucy's Warbler: Shows no yellow, any red would be on crown or on chestnut rump, no wing bars.

Black-throated Blue Warbler- Shows no yellow or red, no wing bars

Yellow-rumped warbler: Shows no red, mostly black and white.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: Olive-gray overall, shows no bright yellow, any red would be on crown.

Lazuli bunting: heavy billed, larger, long-tailed, shows no yellow. Any red on breast would not be speckled except in a nonbreeding bird.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
First observed Northern Parula. I have only birded the western U.S. and have little experience with Eastern warblers. I am familiar with western birds, especially common species like Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Western bluebird, and others I may have overlooked as a similar species.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds (2000), (rare bird sightings list and rare bird finder), ABA Checklist
Description from: From memory
Observer: Dan Trujillo
Observer's address: 64 E 200 S La Verkin UT 84745
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 5-27-2012
Additional material:  
Additional_Comments: While trying to re-find the bird, golfer traffic began to increase heavily, forcing my exit from the location. Jane Day also observed the bird, but briefly, and only with the naked eye. I did not have time to take notes during the observation, as it was a short viewing and I did not want to anger golfers.