UBRC Report         

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 themselves.

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 parenthesis). 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 that record.

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).


Neotropic Cormorant (2014-002)
 by David Vander Pluym

Black Scoter   (Melanitta americana  (12 / 22)

    2014-032  15 Nov 2014 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Ryan O'Donnell   (two, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs


Red-necked Grebe  (Podiceps grisegena)  (16 / 25)
2014-040  18 Dec 2013 - Sand Hollow SP, Washington Co., by Steve & Cindy Sommerfeld; Rick Fridell   (1st winter, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs


Neotropic Cormorant  (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)  (1 / 2)

    2014-002  15 Jun 2013 - Mill Race Pond, Sandy, Salt Lake Co., by David Vander Pluym  (six, photos)  1st round:  9 acc


Little Blue Heron  (Egretta caerulea)   (0 / 5)

    2014-020  23 Jul 2014 - Farmington Bay and Glover Pond, Davis Co., by Norm Jenson   (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0

Glossy Ibis  (Plegadis falcinellus)  (3 / 8)

    2014-011  28 Apr 2014 - Amalga, Cache Co., by Ryan O'Donnell  (adult, photos)1st round: 8-1 abs

    2014-012  23 Apr 2014 - Ogden Bay, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell  (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


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)

    2014-025  13 Sep 2014 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Mike Hearell   (juvenile, photos)  1st round:  0-9  --  (The documentation didn't eliminate the possibility of an American Golden-Plover).


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)

    2014-026  26 Sep 2014 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Mike Hearell   (intermediate juvenile, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Little Gull (2014-033)
by Ryan O'Donnell

Little Gull  (Hydrocoloeus minutus)  (5 / 7)
    2014-033  15 Nov 2014 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Ryan O'Donnell   (1st winter, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs


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)

    2014-003  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)

    2008-12R  19 Jun 2008 - Green Canyon, Cache Co., by Ron Ryel,  (audio), Ryan O'Donnell (audio), Craig Fosdick (adult male)  1st round: 8-1 abs

    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).

    2014-039  6 Feb 2014 - Hurricane, Washington Co., by Rick Fridell   (juvenile, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs

    2014-041  11 Dec 2013 - Zion National Park, Washington Co., by Rick Fridell   (adult male, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs


Juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker
by Rick Fridell

Red-headed Woodpecker  (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)  (7 / 14)    2014-038  14 Dec 2014 - Hurricane, Washington Co., by Rick Fridell   (juvenile, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs


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).


Yellow-bellied Flycatcher   (Empidonax flaviventris)   0 Vetted
2014-021  27 Aug 2014 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen   (HY1, photos)  2nd round: 0-9  --   (Excellent photos gave the reviewers a good chance to evaluate this bird.  Although it is a tough ID, most of the reviewers saw signs indicating this might be a "Western Flycatcher).


Least Flycatcher  (Empidonax minimus)  (13 / 20)

    2014-018  5 Jun 2014 - Newton Reservoir, Cache Co., by Cullen Clark  (male, photo, video w/ sound) and Ryan O'Donnell (3 singing males, photos, audio)  1st round: 8-1 abs


Blue-headed Vireo  (Vireo solitarius)  (2 / 5)

Blue-headed Vireo (2014-022)
by Matt Pendleton

    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)

    2014-004  29 Jan 2014 - South of Gunlock Res., Washington Co., by Shawn Langston (adult, photos)  1st round:  9-0


Brown Thrasher    (Toxostoma rufum)  (1 / 5) 
2014-035  26 Oct 2014 - Moab, Grand Co., by Gail Lea   (adult, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Nelson's Sparrow  (Ammodramus nelsoni)  (6 / 15)

    2014-027  29 Sep 2014 - Farmington Bay WFMA, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen   (one adult, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Ovenbird  (Seiurus aurocapilla)  (1 / 4)

    2014-029  31 Aug 2014 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Joel & Kathy Beyer   (adult, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs

    2014-024  19 Sep 2014 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Norm Jenson   (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2014-028  27 Sep 2014 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen   (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


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).

    2014-016  30 May 2014 - Sandy, Salt Lake Co., by Norman Jenson  (male, photos)  1st round: 8-0


Streak-backed Oriole
by Rick Fridell

Streak-backed Oriole    (Icterus pustulatus)  (7 / 12)
    2014-001   26 Dec 2013 - Washington City, Washington Co., by Russell Schreiner (1st year female, photos)  1st round: 8-1 abs


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).

    2014-037  16 Dec 2014 - Alta, Salt Lake Co., by Ryan O'Donnell   (adult?, photos)  1st round: 9-0



* The heading photo is of a Blue-headed Vireo by Matt Pendleton (Record 2014-022)