Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-20

Common name:

Eastern Phoebe

Scientific name: Sayornis phoebe
Date: 4/2/2017
Time: 10:45
Length of time observed: 7 minutes
Number: 1
Age: U
Sex: U
Location: Matheson Wetlands Preserve, Moab
County: Grand
Latilong: 38.579066, -109.5738597
Distance to bird: <100 ft
Optical equipment: Eagle Optics 10x42 binoculars, Canon 7D 300mm with 1.4x TC camera (420mm equivalent)
Weather: Partly cloudy, warm
Light Conditions:  Broken sunlight (sub-canopy)
Description:        Size of bird: Small
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Flycatcher-like
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: white, brownish-gray
(Description:)            Bill Type: small, thin with tiny hook on end
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Immediately identified this bird as a flycatcher. April 2nd would be quite early for most empids, so I took a closer look. Bird was "wagging" it's tail upwards, again unusual for empids. Upon closer look noticed the bird had a dark cap and white throat, all black bill, very thin. Immediately began observing and taking photographs. The bird was perching below canopy height anywhere from 6-15 ft off the ground. Remaining very still except for head movements to look for bugs. Then brief flights were made to the ground or surrounding area in pursuit of prey. See photos.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Perched head height to 15 ft, making brief flycatching forays to the ground or into the air
Habitat: Cottonwood riparian, with wetlands associated understory
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Empids eliminated via dark cap, white throat, and tail "wagging".
Say's and Black Phoebe (both possible here) eliminated for same reasons.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Saw this species for the first time earlier this winter in SE Arizona at Patagonia Lake SP.
References consulted: Sibley App for iPhone.
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Neil Paprocki
Observer's address: Salt Lake City, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 4/2/2017
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: