Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2005-08

Common name:

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Scientific name: Dendroica caerulescens
Date: April 13, 2005
Time: 9:30 am
Length of time observed: about two minutes
Number: one
Age: adult
Sex: female
Location: Fielding Garr Ranch, Antelope Island State Park
County: Davis
Elevation: just over 4200 feet
Distance to bird: 30 to 40 feet
Optical equipment: various binoculars, 8.5 X 56 Minox used by Keith Evans
Weather: warm with south breeze
Light Conditions: excellent
Description:        Size of bird: warbler size (5-6 inches in length)
(Description:)       Basic Shape: warbler shape (small pointed bill)
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: dark gray above and olive below
(Description:)            Bill Type: small pointed bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
A group of WAS members were birding Fielding Garr Ranch. Carolyn Somer said, "I've got a warbler." and the rest of the group looked. Being the biggest skeptic of the group, I said, "what western warbler looks like a Black-throated Blue." Jack Rensel said, "it is a Black-throated Blue." We ruled out Orange Crowned because of the lack of yellow under tail coverts and overall color. We ruled out Tennesee because this warbler was too dark with no yellow tinge on back and the eye pattern was different. We rulled out a female American Redstart because
of the lack of characteristic redstart tail pattern. The clincher for identification was the white spot on the wing at the base of the primaries (no other warbler has this). We looked at both sides of the warbler to make sure the white spot was not a damaged feather. Under tail coverts were white. Head was oveall gray and head pattern included a light streak over the eye, a faint cresent below the eye, and a defined! "cheek" patch. We let other members of the group look through
"Sibley" to find the bird they thought they saw - they all picked the Black-throated Blue.
Song or call & method of delivery: silent
Behavior: feeding and flitting through some tree limbs about 20 feet high
Habitat: below the spring house at the Garr ranch, best described as riparian
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
explained in the identification characteristics section.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Jack Rensel, Carolyn Somer, and I have all birded in the east
References consulted: Sibley's guide for members of the party not familiar with this warbler
Description from: From memory
Observer: Keith Evans and others
Observer's address: 4826 Kiwana Dr., Ogden, UT 84403
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Jack Rensel, Carolyn Somer when observing the bird and 4-5 other WAS members after they looked at the Sibley Guide.
Date prepared: April 17, 2005
Additional material:  
Additional comments: The Black-throated Blue Warbler is listed as "seen only once" on the current Antelope Island checklist of birds.