Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2009-27

Common name:

Painted Bunting

Scientific name: Passerina ciris
Date: September 1, 6, & 7, 2009
Time: see below
Length of time observed: 15 min. total
Number: 1
Age: first fall
Sex: female ?
Location: Lytle Ranch, Beaver Dam Wash
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Distance to bird: 5 -15 m
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binoculars
Weather: clear and calm
Light Conditions: originally late afternoon sun
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The orchard at Lytle Ranch had not been mowed allowing grasses to seed, and attracting a large flock of buntings. My first trip through the orchard around 6:40 pm I noticed about 30 Lazuli Buntings and 3 or so Blue Grosbeaks. After hiking up the wash, I went back through the orchard at 7:30 watching individual buntings as they flushed from the deep grasses up into fruit trees, when I very briefly observed a female-type Painting Bunting. The bird flew after a couple seconds and I lost it as the flock moved about and into the mesquite trees lining the orchard. I went back through around 8:00 (about 30 minutes after sunset), but there were only a few buntings still active.  I was walking out when the Painted Bunting flushed up and perched in a plum tree for a minute or so, offering good views. Although there was little light remaining, I managed to push a few diagnostic photographs. Also observed on September 6 & 7, 2009. 

Small bunting, similar in size and structure to Lazuli and Indigo Buntings. Plumage distinctly green above (head, back, rump, tail, and wings) and buffy greenish below (throat, breast, belly, and undertail coverts). Wings lacking wingbars on secondaries, with darker blackish primaries. Eye, bill, and legs black/ dark gray. 
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: primarilly foraging on seeding grasses, perched at mid-level in fruit trees when flushed
Habitat: orchard with deep grasses adjacent to Mojave Desert habitat and  riparian zone along the Beaver Dam Wash
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
distinguished from other Passerina by green coloration
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 12-16-09
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Description above copied from field notes.