Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2005-

Common name:

Tennessee Warbler

Scientific name: Vermivora peregrina
Date: August 25, 2005
Time: 11:00 am
Length of time observed: On and off for 2-3 minutes
Number: 1
Age: first fall
Sex: male
Location: Willard Bay State Park, Willow Creek Campground, channel along campsites 31-32
County: Box Elder
Latilong: N 41*25.055' W112*03.156'   [Latilong 2]
Elevation: 4464 ft
Distance to bird: 20-25 ft
Optical equipment: Celestron 8 x 42 Noble binoculars
Weather: Clear, sunny, temps in the high 80s
Light Conditions: Bright; filtered sunlight on bird
Description:        Size of bird: small--comparable to Wilson's Warbler also present
(Description:)       Basic Shape: small passerine
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Fairly drab; mostly olive upperparts, mostly yellow underparts
(Description:)            Bill Type: Sharp, finely pointed, faintly downcurved
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Very finely pointed gray bill, slightly downcurved, and appeared obviously longer than a nearby Wilson's Warbler's. No hook on the end of the bill. Distinct olive eyeline through lores, eye, and
extending aft of eye. No median or lateral crown stripes. Yellow supercilium, yellowish face below eye, pale yellow throat, breast, belly. Sides were just slightly dingier than yellow breast, appearing to be tinged with olive. No pattern on breast or sides (e.g., blurry streaks).
Yellow was fairly clear, but not nearly the bright, strong yellow of the Wilson's. Very obvious whitish undertail coverts. Didn't see underside of the tail. Olive upperparts, to include crown, nape, back, wings, tail. No obvious wingbars or other markings on upperparts. Combination
of olive crown, pale-colored supercilium, and dark eyeline left a vireo-type impression, but the sharp, narrow, finely-pointed bill didn't correlate with any vireo.
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: Flitting through a young Russian Olive 15-20 feet high that hung over a channel filled with water. Not as active as a Wilson's, but still moved enough to irritate me as I worked through the field marks. At one point, the bird perched still for a couple seconds and roused all its feathers while in a profile view; I was able to study the side feathers as they smoothed down again to confirm no streaks were present.
Habitat: Patchwork of brushy, overgrown edges and sometimes impenetrable young growth, mixed with open areas (campsites) and mature Cottonwoods and Box Elders. A few narrow streams cut through the campground. Bird was specifically along the fairly impenetrable east side of a channel
in a young Russian Olive. Channel was both water-filled and shrubby growth is filling it in.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Orange-crowned Warbler: Review bird had a much more significant eyeline, lacked any semblance of an eyering or blurry olive streaks along sides, and had obvious whitish undertail

Other Warblers: Review bird's lack of wing markings eliminated improbable Dendroicas; yellowish cheek/auricular, long, fine bill eliminated first fall female Black-throated Blue.

All Vireos: Review bird's bill was sharp and finely pointed; not at all blunt. No hook at the end. Contrast between review bird's relatively yellow underparts and whitish undertail coverts is different from all the vireo species. Size of review bird (comparable to Wilson's present) was smaller than all vireos. At one point, both the review bird and the Wilson's Warbler were in the same binocular view at approx 25 feet. I think a length difference of 1/2 inch (Philadelphia--all other confusers are larger) would have been noticeable.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
No previous experience
References consulted: Peterson Field Guide 'Warblers', Sibley, National Geographic Second Edition (later, so as not to cloud impressions)
Description from: From memory
Observer: Kristin M. Purdy
Observer's address: 1961 Arapaho Circle, Ogden, UT 84403-4648
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Jack Binch, Bob Huntington (Aug 27)
Cindy and Steve Sommerfeld, Ed Leite, Joel and Kathy Beyer. (Aug 28)
Date prepared: August 27, 2005
Additional material:  
Additional comments: