Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-55

Common name:

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Scientific name: Dendroica caeulescens
Date: November 7, 2006
Time: 0830
Length of time observed: 5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: male
Location: Site C26, Watchman Campground, Zion National Park
County: Washington
Elevation: 4000 feet
Distance to bird: 15-25 feet
Optical equipment: Leica 10X40 Binoculars
Weather: High thin clouds, light breeze, mild temperature
Light Conditions: Sun behind the observers
Description:        Size of bird: Small, but bigger than a nearby Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: A plumpish warbler
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Blue, black, and white
(Description:)            Bill Type: Thin and short
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
My wife Chris and I birded around the campground and the visitor center before leaving the park. We found the male Black-throated Blue Warbler in the campground at campsite C26 while we were having breakfast. I first saw the bird in a tree a little above eye level with the sun behind me and called out for Chris to come look at a male Black-throated Blue Warbler. She got on it before it moved off across the road to the west(?) where we saw it again about 15 feet above
ground in another tree before loosing it. The identification was fairly straightforward. The entire upper surface of the bird was a dark blue. It had a black face, throat, sides and flanks and was otherwise white below through the undertail, save for black tips on the outer tail feathers. There was a small white patch on the folded wing at the base of the outer primaries.
Song or call & method of delivery:  I did not hear the bird call.
Behavior: The bird gleaned food at mid to upper mid level in the trees while observed.
Habitat: The campground is grassy with trees interspersed around the sites. Site C26 is more open than the loop to the east. I don't recall the specific species of trees in the campground, but all were decidious and I believe most were cottonwoods. The Virgin River is nearby and downslope of the "C" loop.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
There really isn't anything very comparable to a male Black-throated Blue Warbler. The bird lacked the white wingbars, white throat, black streaked flanks, and back streaks of a male
Cerulean Warbler.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen males of this species several times in California.
References consulted: None at the time. When I returned home I consulted the Identification Guide to North American Birds by Peter Pyle to confirm that the bird was an adult.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Tom Edell
Observer's address: 46 Eighth Street, Cayucos, CA 93430
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Chris Edell, same contact information
Date prepared: November 12, 2006
Additional material:  
Additional comments: I knew at the time that the bird was rare, but only realized later that it was a Utah Committee bird when I checked a Utah state list I downloaded off the web.