Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2015-37

Common name:

Prothonotary Warbler

Scientific name: Protonotaria citrea
Date: 07 November 2015
Time: ~1:00pm
Length of time observed: ~5-10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Juv/1st-year
Location: Icon Trail/Logan River walk
County: Cache
Distance to bird: ~5-10 feet
Optical equipment: Atlas Intrepid 10x42 binoculars
Weather: Cold and sunny
Light Conditions: Sun was more or less overhead, but low enough that I was able to get great views with sun at my back.
Description:        Size of bird: ~5-6 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Warbler
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Yellow, blue, and white
(Description:)            Bill Type: Thin, bill, but relatively large compared to other warblers.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Warbler with bright yellow head, face, and chest, white belly and undertail coverts, and bluish wings without wing bars. Very short tail, soul-piercing black eyes, and relatively large and pale bill (one reason it's probably not an adult).
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Heard call only once--a high "Tseep." Similar to, but higher than, an Audubon's Warbler call.
Behavior: Foraging in lower branches of willows with mixed flock (Mountain & Black-capped Chickadees, Ruby & Golden-Crowned Kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers). At one point it briefly perched on side trunk.
Habitat: Riparian, mainly willow from what I remember and could ID.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Blue-winged Warbler (rare) can be ruled out by lack of dark eye-line. Pine Warbler (rare) can be ruled out for pretty much the same reason as BWWA, plus the fact that PIWA is not nearly as bright yellow as PROW. Yellow Warbler (rare this time of year) lacks the bluish wings and white undertail coverts of a PROW.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Have seen several Prothonotary Warblers in Virgina on a couple of occasions, and have seen a couple vagrants in Arizona. Have seen many Blue-Winged and Pine Warblers on the east coast.
References consulted: Sibley
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Michael Lester
Observer's address:  
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Originally found by Cullen Clark on 11/02/2015. Additional people who have reported seeing the bird (via eBird or personal communication): 11/5--Mike Taylor (photos), Andrew Durso, Denise Cheung, Matt Pendleton (photos), Bret Mossman, Eric Bingham, Cullen Clark (photos). 11/6--Steve & Cindy Sommerfeld, Shyloh Robinson, Eric Bingham. I photographed the bird on 11/7 after Andy Kleinhesselink relocated it.
Date prepared: 11/09/2015
Additional material: Photos