Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-34

Common name:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scientific name: Tyrannus forficatus
Date: May 19, 2017
Time: 9:30 AM
Length of time observed: 10 seconds
Number: 1
Age: Unknown
Sex: Unknown
Location: Escalante Petrified Forest SP - Wide Hollow Reservoir
County: Garfield County
Latilong: 37′16″N 111′46″W
Elevation: 5900 feet
Distance to bird: 30 feet
Optical equipment: Swarovski 10x42 Binoculars
Weather: Sunny
Light Conditions: Great
Description:        Size of bird: Medium - length estimated at 9 to 10 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Similar to perching-like birds
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Overall color was light - light gray
(Description:)            Bill Type: All purpose
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
While scanning the reservoir for waterfowl near the entrance to the park looking west, I momentarily dropped my binoculars and saw a medium size bird fly about 30 feet in front of me slightly above eye-level heading north. The bird had an elongated tail which was at least as long as the body and which was pitched slightly downward. My movement likely startled the bird which caused it to emit an alarm call which sounded like a "pik". The call was similar to a recording maintained on the Cornell site. The bird continued heading towards the park entrance gate almost following the reservoir shoreline. I watched the bird for about 10 seconds with my binoculars as it flew towards a treeline near the reservoir. The bird had fairly quick wing beats and had a direct flight. The light gray body and elongated tail was seen very well. The "scissor" tail slightly separated vertically as it flew which showed well. I entered the park, which took several minutes, and attempted to relocate the bird to obtain some pictures but could not find it.
Song or call & method of delivery: Please see above.
Behavior: Please see above.
Habitat:  Reservoir and treeline/shrub/grassy habitat around the reservoir
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
 Fork-tailed Flycatcher - this specie was eliminated since no black cap was noted on top of the head.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen many Scissor-tailed Flycatchers on a trip to Texas and on occasion in Florida.
References consulted: Cornell
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bill Asteriades
Observer's address: 30 Bluff Point Road, South Glastonbury,CT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None
Date prepared: 5/28/17
Additional material:  
Additional comments: [nnina]