Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-33

Common name:

Golden-winged Warbler

Scientific name: Vermivora chrysoptera
Date: May 27, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM
Length of time observed: 5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Unknown
Sex: Male
Location: Near Virgin River (along Riverside Drive) in St. George, Utah
[Immediately south of Heritage Elementary School and Morningside Drive]
County: Washington
Latilong: Lat: 37.08604 N, 113.56855 W
Elevation: 2560
Distance to bird: ~25 feet
Optical equipment: Nikon 200-500mm lens, Leupold 10X50 binoculars
Weather: Sunny
Light Conditions: Mostly shade (under tree canopy)
Description:        Size of bird: ~5 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Typical warbler shape (knew immediately it was a warbler)
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Gray overall, with yellow wing patch, and facial pattern of black and white (see field marks below)
(Description:)            Bill Type: Appeared long (for warblers) and sharp
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Gray overall, strong black and white facial pattern, black bib, and yellow crown. Yellow (golden) wing patch was prominent. Dark gray back and light gray underparts. No streaking on underparts.

Bill appeared longer than most warblers, but this might not be significant for an ID.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: N/A
Behavior: Observed moving from tree to tree, primarily in tamarisk (about 15 feet off ground). Very active and only appeared in the open for a few seconds.
Habitat: Dense riparian vegetation: mostly tamarisk and large ash trees
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Several other species of warblers have a bold facial pattern (such as black-throated gray, townsend's, magnolia) but each of these differ on the color and arrangement of their facial pattern.
In addition, the yellow wing bars of the golden-winged are unique, especially when combined with the lack of breast streaking, yellow crown, and black bib.
Overall, this species appears to be fairly unmistakable, especially the male.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
First time observing golden-winged. However, I immediately knew it was a unique observation, since other warblers that I am familiar with observing in this area (especially along the Virgin River) are very different in appearance.
References consulted: Sibley Field Guide to Western Birds, online resources (especially Cornell Lab of Ornithology website)
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Mike Schijf
Observer's address: 354 Vermillion Ave
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None
Date prepared: May 27, 2017
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: Will email photos to email address listed below.