Utah Birds Records Committee
– Report for 2014
Voting Members: Kathy Beyer, Robert Bond, Rick Fridell, Ryan O'Donnell, Terry Sadler, Dennis Shirley, Jack Skalicky, Steve Sommerfeld, David Wheeler Non-voting Members: Craig Fosdick (Secretary), Milt Moody (Webmaster), Eric Huish (Archivist), Cody Neuman (eBird Liaison)
This annual report of the Utah Bird Records Committee summarizes 43 records of 31 species submitted in 2014. The Committee accepted 30 of these records (69.8%). Those records not accepted were due primarily to insufficient descriptive details to eliminate similar species. Other reasons included lapsed time between the date of observation and written report, and the possibility of the bird being a hybrid.
Besides the Voting
Members listed above, the following committee members participated in the review
of the records for 2014: Kenny Frisch
and Larry Tripp. The webmaster, Milt Moody, compiled this report,
obtaining information from the website and the "Summary Pages" of the records
This year, five new species were added to the checklist of Utah birds. It took two rounds and three eye witnesses from the records committee to accept a sight record for a Bar-tailed Godwit seen at Willard Bay in Box Elder County. An easier record to accept was one for a Streak-backed Oriole in Washington City first reported by Russell Schreiner on the day after Christmas 2013. This bird stayed around until the end of April of the next year. Three sight records and many excellent photos make this an easy record to accept. On the 16th of January, 2013 Carla Ritter had an Allen's Humminbbird come to her feeder. Luckily good photos and measurements taken by Ned Batchelder made it possible to tell it from the similar Rufous Hummingbird -- but it took about a year. It took an excellent drawing from a raptor expert, Jerry Liguori, to document a Mississippi Kite seen near the mouth of Parley's Canyon, near Salt Lake City. The last new species for the year turned out to be an easy one, a Nelson's Sparrow found by Bryant Olsen at Farmington Bay in Davis County. Excellent documentation and many excellent photos left no doubt about the ID of this bird. These new records increased the number of Utah species from 451 to 456.
All species evaluated by
the Committee are listed by common and scientific name using the nomenclature
and taxonomic order of the 7th American Ornithological Society Check-list of
North American Birds, 54th supplement, followed by the number of
the records accepted for this species in the last
ten years followed by the total number of official sightings for Utah (in
The following information is included with each record in the species section: record number, occurrence date, sighting location, observer(s)
who submitted written documentation of the record, and the number of birds
observed along with age and sex if known and a link to any photos submitted with
the record (all in parenthesis), and the final-round vote of the committee, with
the first number being the “accept” votes and the second number being the
“not-accept” votes. A summary/explanation of the sight record review will follow
the "final round" numbers for those records that were not unanimously accepted
in the first round and will be enclosed in parenthesis. Any comments about
the species, as a group, will be, in italics, in the final paragraph of each
species section. There are hyperlinks for each species to the list of vetted sightings in Utah, and
to the actual sight records along with any photos for
The Utah Bird Records Committee would like to thank those individuals who submitted documentation for these rare sightings as well as those who sent in additional material and information about these birds. The submission of photographs and recordings of songs or calls, along with the written documentation is strongly encouraged by the Committee. They help greatly to establish the validity of these sightings.
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) (12 / 22)
2014-007 18 Mar 2011 - Pelican Lake, Uintah Co., by Brian Maxfield (adult male, photo) 2nd round: 0-9 -- (There was too much evidence that this was not a pure American Black Duck, to support this sighting).
Black Scoter (Melanitta americana (12 / 22)
Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) (1 / 2)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) (3 / 8)
Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) (9 / 18)
2014-013 4 May 2014 - Footlills south of Parley's Canyon, Salt Lake Co., by Jerry Liguori (adult, drawing) 2nd round: 8 acc -- (Because of the well-known expertise of the observer, this first state record was accepted with only a drawing of the bird in flight). (First State Redord)
Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva) (2 / 8)
Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) (4 /16)
2014-023 4 Sep 2014 - Powell Lake, Utah Co., by Bryant Olsen (non-breeding, photos) 2nd round: 2-7 -- (The description sounds like a Red Phalarope, but study of the photos convinced the reviewers it was more likely a Red-necked Phalarope).
Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) (2 / 11)
Western Gull (Larus glaucoides) (9 / 13)
2014-006 28 Feb 2014 - Ogden Bay WMA, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell (2nd Cycle, photos) 2nd round: 7-2 -- (Despite suggestions of hybridization and a long thread of a discussion on social media about this bird, the documentation convinced the committee to accept this record).
Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) (7 / 7)
2014-005 25 Feb 2014 - Lee Kay Pond, Salt Lake Co., by Stephanie Greenwood (adult, photos) 3rd round: 4-5 -- (The difficulty of separating Iceland and Thayer's Gulls is illustrated by this record. The committee was basically split half and half for three rounds of excellent discussion).
2014-042 24 Dec 2014 - Lee Kay Ponds, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen (1st cycle, presumable male?, photos) 3rd round: 2-6 -- (The indistinct line between the Iceland and the Thayer's Gull gradually caused more and more doubt about this ID).
Slaty-backed Gull (Larus schistisagus) (7 / 7)
14 Dec 2013 - Logan, Cache Co., by Ryan O'Donnell (1st
winter, photos) 2nd round: 0-8-1
abs -- (With much research by the reviews on this record, it
was found that because of the age of this bird it is very difficult to
eliminate a hybrid as a possibility for this gull).
Mexican Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus arizonae) (2 / 2)
2014-019 6 Jun 2014 - Near Tropic Reservoir just outside Bryce Canyon NP, Garfield Co., by Carl Ingwell (one) 2nd round: 6-3 nas -- (Though there was some doubt whether Easter Whip-poor-will could be eliminated, most thought the record was good for a Mexican Whip-poor-will).
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) (15 / 18)
2014-010 14 Mar 2014 - Zion NP, Washington Co., by Mary Jane Parrine (adult male, photo) 2nd round: 8-0 -- (The observable field marks from the photos, overcame some doubts created by no mention about other field marks that would have been helpful, but were not described. The doubts were alleviated in the second round).
2014-031 13 Oct 2014 - Quail Creek Res., Washington Co., by Von & Karen Welch (male, photos) 2nd round: 6-3 -- (Though there were several reviewers who saw signs of a Red-naped Sapsucker, the others stood firm on their ID noting some obvious and strong signs of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker).
Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides) (2 / 2)
2014-030 23 Oct 2014 - Murray, Salt Lake Co., by Carly & Lynn Beardall (adult, photos) 1st round: 0-9 -- (There are too many characteristics of a Northern Flicker on this bird to support the ID of a pure Gilded Flicker).
2014-034 19 Oct 2014 - Springdale, Washington Co., by Henry Buser (male, photos) 1st round: 0-9 -- (There were too many characteristics of a Northern Flicker on this bird to accept it as a pure Gilded Flicker).
Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) (2 / 2)
2014-008 April 2000 - Near Fort Pierce Wash, Washington Co., by Elva Christian (adult female) 1st round: 0-9 -- (The lack of photos and the time between the sighting and the record, plus other doubts from the documentation were reasons to not accept this unexpected sighting).
2014-009 April 2000 - St. George, Washington Co., by Elva Christian (adult male) 2nd round: 1-8 -- (This is a male version of the same species in record 2014-008, and received a little more support with a good description of this unique bird, but it was not enough for a first state record for such an unprecedented sighting for Utah).
Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris) 0 Vetted
Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus) (13 / 20)
Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) (2 / 5)
2014-022 1 Sep 2014 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen (one, photos) 3rd round: 5-4 -- (It was a toss up between a bright Cassin's Vireo and a Blue-headed Vireo, but after three rounds the ID stayed on the Blue-headed Vireo side).
Winter Wren (Troglodytes palustris) (3 / 5)
Nelson's Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) (6 / 15)
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) (1 / 4)
Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus) (8 / 19)
2014-015 30 Apr 2014 - Lower Bair Creek/Nichols Park, Davis Co., by Mike Hearell (juvenile? female?) 2nd round: 2-7 -- (The description of the bird left some doubts, for this very rare bird, which were reinforced by other reviewers in the second round).
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) (7 / 12)
2014-014 13 May 2014 - South of Joseph, Sevier Co., by Cherin Spencer-Bower (adult) 2nd round: 1-8 -- (Despite the uniqueness of this species, there were too many questions about the description of this bird to accept such a rare sighting for Utah without a photo).
Baltimore Oriole ( Icterus galbula) (7 / 12)
2014-017 1 Jun 2014 - Weber River Trail, Ogden, Weber Co., by Kristin Purdy (adult male) 1st round: 8-0
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte australis) (6 / 6)
2014-036 8 Dec 2014 - Alta, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen (immature male, photos) 2nd round: 0-8 -- (There were too many characteristics you would expect for a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch to accept this record).
* The heading photo is of a Blue-headed Vireo by Matt Pendleton (Record 2014-022)