Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2004-32a

Common name:


Scientific name: Branta bernicla
Date: October 10th,2004
Time: 10:30 am
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: unknown
Location: Bear River Migratory Refuge loop--south end
County: Box Elder
Latilong: 41.441N 112.306W
Elevation: 4208 ft
Distance to bird: 200 feet
Optical equipment: Bausch & Lomb Elite 7X36
Weather: cloudy, and windy--white caps on the water
Light Conditions: overcast at times
Detailed description of bird: It appeared all dark except the white around the tail area and a lighter area near the water line. It was this white that first caught my attention. Then the long straight neck with a small appearing head and bill. The white "necklace" could be plainly seen through binoculars.In fact, it could be seen with the naked eye before the bird swam away.  (see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: no call
Behavior: calmly floating and swimming
Habitat:  fresh water lake
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
American Coots were numerous with short necks and no white in tail area. There was no white cheek patch that is found on a canada goose. Loons have long bills and sit lower in the water. Scoters have shorter necks, and no white around the tail area. Brants are very distinctive birds that are not easily confused with other birds.A muscovy duck has a short neck.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
 I have seen brants in the San Diego River Channel area where it empties into the ocean. Canada geese spend the winter at our local golf course. I have seen scoters and loons in the Pacific Ocean.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds and Birding Utah (A Falcon Guide) which stated "Rare bird--information wanted
Description from: From memory
Observer: Karen Welch
Observer's address: 11045N 5550W Highland Utah 84003
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Andrew Welch,Pomera Fronce, Kent Lewis, observed on Oct 13 as reported on birdnet mailing list.
Date prepared: 10-13-04   (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: Photos