Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-72

Common name:

Bay-breasted Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga castanea
Date: 10-16-2013
Time: 8:45am
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Hatch Year
Sex: ?
Location: Liberty Park, Salt Lake City
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 4,300ft
Distance to bird: 30ft
Optical equipment: 10X50 binoculars,Canon powershot SX20 IS digital camera
Weather: Clear,sunny but cold (40F)
Light Conditions: Excellent, sun had just rissen and we saw the bird illuminated in the top of a tree
Description:        Size of bird: Small passerine
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Warbler shaped
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Olive-yellow head and back,buff belly and undertail coverts,blackish wings with bold white wingbars
(Description:)            Bill Type: Short and thin,warbler like
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
When we fist saw the bird I noticed a Warbler mixed in with a flock of Chickadees and Kinglets with a yellowish head and pale undertail covert,so I thought it was probably a Townsend's. Then we saw the face had no black markings. Next thought was a Tennessee, but then we saw it had wingbars,so then I knew it was an unfamiliar rare warbler. I began taking photos, and Carolina began taking notes of all the field marks. We both watched the bird for then next 20 minutes. It had an olive yellow head and back,yellow eye ring,paler yellow throat,buffy undertail coverts and belly,blackish wings with bold white wing bars. Photos also show a splash of pink on the flanks.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Feeding in the upper canopy of a Pine tree
Habitat: In a city park planted with ornamental coniferous and deciduous trees. There is a large pond a few hundred meters to the south.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
After eliminating Townsend's and Tennessee,we arrived at the hatch year Pine-Blackpoll-Bay-breasted group because of the pale undertail coverts,wingbars and unmarked yellow head. I first thought Pine,but that was just a guess. A half hour after seeing the bird,we went and uploaded the photos onto Carolina computer and compared them to Sibley's drawings and online photos. We ruled out Blackpoll because the bird was not streaky,and we ruled out Pine because the bird had very bold black wings and high contrasting white wingbars. Also in the photos we could see it had black legs and a touch of pink on the lower flanks that supported Bay-breasted.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds,D.A.Sibley 2000,Audubon Guides-Birds app
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South #105 Salt Lake City,UT 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Carolina Roa saw it with me,later Matthew Pendleton,Shyloh Robinson,and Dave Thompson also saw it
Date prepared: 10-16-2013
Additional material: Photos