FOURTH REPORT OF THE UTAH BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE*
ELLA D. SORENSEN, 3868 Marsha Dr., West Valley City, Utah 841 20
KEITH L. DIXON, Dept. of Biology, Utah State Univ., Logan, Utah 84322
STEVEN P. HEDGES, Bureau of Land Management, Cedar City, Utah 84720
CLAYTON M. WHITE, Dept. of Zoology, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah 84602
On February 15, 1986, the Utah Bird Records Committee held
its first meeting. At that meeting, records that had not received a unanimous
vote to "accept" or "not accept" through a previous mail
circulation were discussed further and revoted upon. The results of that vote
are included in this report. Also in this report are several records which
received a unanimous vote on a second mail recirculation through the Committee.
This report also includes some records with photographs that were received prior
to the Committee meeting and voted on at the meeting. The format of this report
follows that of previous Records Committee reports.
HARLEQUIN DUCK (Histrionicus histrionicus). One female (52~985); 21
Dec 1985-21 Feb 1986; First Dam, Logan River, Cache Co.; (PB, many obs.);
documented: PB; photo: ES.
See Utah Birds l(4):90 for a discussion of this
LONG-TAILED JAEGER (Stercorarius longicaudus). One adult (46-1985); 13
June 1985; Ouray NWR, Uintah Co.; (JH); documented: JH.
This bird was observed for about 30 minutes as it ate a large
dead fish. A photograph was taken of the bird on the ground, but unfortunately
was lost before anyone on the Committee had an opportunity to review it. Hugh
Kingery, who studied the photo, suggested that the bird was correctly identified
as a Long-tailed Jaeger. On 29 May1963, an adult Long-tailed Jaeger was
photographed in Colorado (Bailey and Niedrach 1965), indicating that adults
occur accidentally inland at this time of year. This sighting represents the
fourth accepted record for Utah, two of which are specimens. Larry Balch and Guy
McCaskie were consulted on this record.
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte anna). One immature male (54-1985); 15-25
Nov 1985; Holiday, Salt Lake Co.; (C&HC, many obs.): documented: ES; photo.
This record was discussed in Utah Birds 2(3):73.
PALM WARBLER (Dendroica palmarum). One (49-1985); 24 Nov 1985;
Smithfield, Cache Co.; (JS) ; documented: JS.
All key fieldmarks were observed including tail wagging which
is typical of this species. It was seen in the lower branches of shrubs by an
observer who was familiar with Palm Warbler.
BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Dendroica striata) . One (38-1985); 29 Sep 1985;
Park Valley, Box Elder Co.; (JB,CM); documented: (JB,CM).
This warbler was identified by a combination of characters:
grayish-green upperparts, especially the top of the head which had a greenish
cap, yellow underparts especially on the throat and upper breast, white
undertail coverts, and faint streaking on the sides. There were also two very
prominent wingbars, a yellowish stripe above the eye, no eyering, and
light-colored legs. Two good fieldmarks, light feet and streaked back, were not
observed. All experts who were consulted felt that the above combination of
characters ruled out the similar fall-plumaged species: Bay-breasted and Pine
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapillus). One (48-1985); 6 Sep 1985; Kaufman
Ranch, Blackrock, Millard Co.; (PL); documented: PL.
The observation was brief (15-20 seconds) and the orange
crown patch was not observed because of the angle of observation. The Committee
felt that this species is distinctive and the observer has had extensive
experience with the species, so the record was accepted. Ovenbirds are probably
rare but regular fall and spring migrants through Utah as they are in adjacent
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Seiurus noveboracensis). One (13-1985); 4 Sep
1985; Ogden, Weber Co.; (MK); documented: MK; photo: MK. One (15-1985); 14 Sep
1985; Lambs Canyon, Salt Lake Co.; (BP,RH,DE); documented: BP,RH,DE.
Northern Waterthrushes are proving to be a rather regular
fall and spring migrants. Most Committee members feel that it is time to
discontinue evaluating records of this species. One Committee member observed
five Northern Waterthrushes during an eight-day period in September 1986 in
widely separated locations of Utah.
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum). One adult (4-1983); 17
July 1983; Logan, Cache Co.; (HW); documented: HW.
The observer who was familiar with this species from Kansas
relied largely on the song for identification. The description included a narrow
white median stripe and yellow lores, two characters shared by the Savannah
Sparrow. (However, the yellow on lores is confined to a spot on the Grasshopper
Sparrow, while on the Savannah Sparrow the yellow includes the lores and much of
the anterior portion of the supercilium.) The bird was differentiated from
Savannah Sparrow by the unstreaked breast and "bill and forehead forming a
straight line." Grasshopper Sparrows were formerly common summer residents
until their tall grassland habitat was largely obliterated. A small but thriving
breeding population was discovered in 1981 near Golden Spike National Monument.
This record is in suitable habitat and may represent an additional breeding
BRAMBLING (Fringilla montifringilla). One (54-1985); 28 Nov 1985-20
Jan 1986; Brigham City, Box Elder Co.; (C&SA); documented: SA,ES; photo:
See Utah Birds 2(2):30 for a discussion of this
GREAT EGRET (Casmerodius albus). One (25-1984); 7 Sep 1984; Escalante
River Canyon, Garfield Co.
This bird was observed momentarily from a helicopter. The
identification was based on large size and slow wingbeat. The Committee felt
that the bill and leg/feet color were needed to be absolutely certain of the
identification, especially at the distance involved.
WHITE IBIS (Guara alba). One adult (27-1985); 9 June 1985; Santaquin,
Many different opinions were expressed about this record,
both by Committee members and authorities consulted. All agreed that the brief
description fit an adult White Ibis. The species wanders widely and has occurred
in adjacent states. The bird was seen briefly without binoculars while the
observer was traveling on a freeway. Committee members felt that an escapee or
albino White-faced Ibis were not adequately ruled out. All felt that a longer
observation period would be necessary for this record to be accepted as a state
It is interesting to note that Colorado had its first
accepted record of White Ibis, an immature that was observed 20 July 1985
through August 1985 (Gent l986).
PALM WARBLER (Dendroica palmarum). One (29-1985); 21 June1985; Logan
Canyon, Cache Co.
The date would be unusual for an occurrence of a Palm Warbler
in the West. Washington and Oregon recently had an average of nearly seven
sightings per year, mostly from September through November with a few lingering
into winter. In California, Palm Warblers occur on average over 170 times per
year, and 150 of those sightings are in fall with some wintering (Roberson
1980). It is very rare in late spring in California, averaging fewer than three
records per year. There are a few late June records for the Farallon Islands
Pinyon-juniper is atypical habitat for this species. In the
West Palm Warblers are usually found in "migrant traps" or along the
coast. The bird was observed briefly over a one-two minute period and there was
no mention of breast streaking, an important fieldmark. Palm Warblers normally
forage in the lower branches, not in the canopy. Palm Warblers are generally
noisy birds which call frequently.
MOURNING WARBLER (Oporornis philadelphia). One (45-1985); 6 Sep 1985;
Wah Wah Ranch, Beaver Co.
This bird was identified as an Oporornis warbler on
the basis of "a fairly large warbler size, fairly plump build, short tail
(due in part to long yellow undertail coverts), and fairly thick-based (for a
warbler) bill, and rather stout fleshy legs, as well as general coloration
overall." The observer ruled out MacGillivray's Warbler by the lack of
hood, bright yellow extending up through the breast to include the throat, lack
of any gray In the plumage, and a less broken eyering.
Most immature/female MacGillivray's Warblers in the Utah
Museum of Natural History collection have whitish or grayish throats, but a few
have throats which are washed with yellow. One specimen collected on 16 August
1936 in southeastern Utah has a throat which is predominantly yellow with some
yellow continuing down through the center of the breast. (Details of this
specimen will be published elsewhere.)
Before this specimen was discovered, several authorities
stated that they had never heard of a yellow throat on a MacGillivray's Warbler
and felt that this was a good field mark for separating the two species. Other
authorities expressed mild to strong sentiment against birders attempting to
distinguish female/immature MacGillivray's and Mourning warblers in the field.
Since there seems to be no general consensus on whether immature Mourning and
MacGillivray's warblers can be distinguished in the field, plus the discovery
that immature MacGillivray's Warbler can have a bright yellow throat -- a
character previously thought to occur only In Mourning Warbler -- the Committee
decided to wait for further information on these two species. The Committee also
felt that the bird was observed too briefly to constitute a first state record.
UOS members are urged to submit details on their observations of MacGillivray's
Warbler, especially immature birds.
HOODED WARBLER (Wilsonia citrina). One female (22-1985); 4 Sep 1985;
Promontory Peninsula1 Box Elder Co.
This record was accepted twice by the Committee, once on the
first round of review and again at the annual meeting following additional
discussion. Subsequently, Sorensen retracted her record. The habitat -- an
isolated clump of deciduous trees with abundant undergrowth and a shallow,
slow-moving stream -- was ideal for this species, and the bird was observed on
the ground and on low branches near the shallow stream. The description fit a
Hooded Warbler, but the observer withdrew the record because the bird was seen
very briefly. As one of the greatest critics against acceptance of records of
briefly viewed birds, she felt that it was hypocritical to even submit the
A second documentation submitted on the same bird was based
only on its call. The observer stated that "my hearing the bird alone is
certainly not sufficient to accept the record." The Committee agreed and
voted not to accept the record.
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea). One; 7 Sep l985; Promontory
Peninsula, Box Elder Co.
The Committee was evenly split on whether or not to accept
this record. Those in favor of acceptance felt that the observer had sufficient
experience with Western and Scarlet. tanagers. Those voting against acceptance
felt that the bird had been observed too briefly. Some Western Tanagers in early
September have wingbars that are worn away. There was also the concern that
while the observer did not actually see the tanager give its call (a low
mono-syllabic note), the call is not diagnostic. The date is also early for a
vagrant Scarlet Tanager in the Far West. Since this would have been only the
second state record (see Utah Birds 1(2):54), a longer observation period
was necessary for acceptance.
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (Spizella pallida). One (42-1985); l5 Sep 1985;
near Salt Lake International Airport, Salt Lake Co.
See Utah Birds l(3):52 for a discussion of this
GREATER SCAUP (Aythya marila). All previously submitted records.
Records of this species, submitted mainly from two Committee
members, have always brought a split vote. There is disagreement among Committee
members on whether Greater and Lesser scaup can be safely distinguished in the
field. The Committee decided to solicit the opinion of several outside experts
before discussing further these records.
OBSERVERS: Sharon and Calvin Andrus, Patricia Bahler, Joelle Buffa, Carl and
Helen Chindgren, Dorothy Egan, Jim Hampson, Ruth Henson, Merlin Killpack, Paul
Lehman, Clyde Morris, Bill Payne, Jeff Smith, Ella Sorensen, Herman Wiebe.
CONSULTANTS: Larry Balch, William Behle, David DeSante, Jon Dunn, Ned
Johnson, Hugh Kingery, Wesley Lanyon, Paul Lehman, Guy McCaskie, Allan Phillips,
Van Remsen, Don Roberson, Richard Webster.
Bailey, A. M. and R. J. Niedrach. 1965. Birds of Colorado, Vol. 1. Denver Mus.
Nat. History. 454 pp.
Gent, P. 1986. CFO Records Committee report for 1985. CFO Journal 20(3):44.
Roberson, D. 1980. Rare birds of the West Coast. Woodcock Publ., Pacific
Grove, Calif. 496 pp.
*Source: Utah Birds 2(4):102-108.