UBRC Report         

Utah Birds Records Committee – Report for 2016

Voting Members: Kathy Beyer, Kenny Frisch, Dennis Shirley, Jack Skalicky, Steve  Sommerfeld, Mark Stackhouse, Larry Tripp, David Wheeler, Kevin Wheeler  Non-voting Members:  Rick Fridell (Secretary), Milt Moody (Webmaster), Eric Huish (Archivist), Cody Neuman (eBird Liaison)

This annual report of the Utah Bird Records Committee summarizes 49 records of 37 species submitted in 2016.  The Committee accepted 36 of these records (73.5%) . The primary reason for records not being accepted by the Committee during the period covered by this report was insufficient evidence to eliminate similar species.  Other reasons included the higher degree of scrutiny for a first state record,  the unlikelihood of the situation described in the record  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 2016: Bryan Shirley and David Wheeler.  The webmaster, Milt Moody, compiled this report, obtaining information from the website and the "Summary Pages" of the records themselves.

This year, one new species was added to the checklist of Utah birds. The Committee decided that the California Condor, which was introduced into Arizona just south of the Utah border in 1996,  had established a viable population in Utah and could be included on the Utah species list.  This increased the number of Utah species to 458.


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.



Barnacle Goose  (Branta leucopsis)  (0 / 0)

   2016-30  11 Sep 2016 - West Weber, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell  (one, photos)  1st round: 0-9 -- (The question of being an escapee was raise early in the review process and was actually answered by a report of six escaped Barnacle Geese in the same area, which confirmed that this was likely an escapee).


Black Scoter   (Melanitta americana  (12 / 22)

   2016-46  22 Nov 2016 - Antelope Island Causeway, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen   (female?, photos)  1st round: 9-0

Possible Arctic Loon
by Bryant Olsen

Red-throated Loon  (Gavia stellata)  (9/15)

   2016-44  17 Nov 2016 - Hyrum Reservoir, Cache Co., by Bryant Olsen   (juvenile?, photos)  1st round: 9-0

   2016-43  19 Nov 2016 - Pineview Reservoir, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell   (adult?, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Arctic Loon  (Gavia stellata)  (0 / 0)

   2016-45  17 Nov 2016 - Hyrum Reservoir, Cache Co., by Bryant Olsen: Kenny Frisch   (one, photos)  2nd round: 2-7 -- (A lot of effort was put into reviewing this record. In the end there was not enough to eliminate the possibility of a Pacific Loon and accept this as a first state record).


Red-necked Grebe  (Podiceps grisegena)  (16 / 24)

   2016-40  1 Nov 2016 - Road to Bear River MBR, Box Elder Co., by Bryant Olsen   (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0

   2016-42  19 Nov 2016 - Hyrum Reservoir SP, Cache Co., by Mike Hearell   (adult, photos)  1st round: 9-0


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

   2016-18  26 Jul 2016 - Powell Lake, Lehi, Utah Co., by Tim Avery  (juvenile, photos)  2nd round: 3-6 -- (The very similar juvenile Snowy Egret could not be eliminated convincingly enough to accept this rare species).

Zone-tailed Hawk  (Buteo albonotatus)   (2 / 3)

   2016-17  14 Jun 2016 - Grafton, Washington Co., by Taylor Abbott,  (adult, photos)  2nd round:  9-0  --  (The possibility of a Common Blackhawk was presented in the first round but a consensus was reached in the second).

   2016-22  25 Jun 2016 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Tim Avery  (one adult, 1 imm., photos)  1st round: 9-0


Upland Sandpiper  (2016-23)
by Mia McPherson


Upland Sandpiper  (Bartramia longicauda  (2 / 8)

   2016-23  31 Aug 2016 - West Golden Spike Drive North, Box Elder Co., by Mia McPherson  (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Buff-breasted Sandpiper  (Calidris pugnax (1 / 5)

   2016-24  1 Sep 2016 - Utah Lake SP, Provo, Utah Co., by Kendall Watkins  (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Ruff  (Calidris pugnax (5 / 7)

   2016-32  16 Sep 2016 - Farmington Bay WMA, Davis Co., by Neil Paprocki  (juvenile, photos)  1st round: 9-0


White-rumped Sandpiper  (Calidris fuscicollis (3 / 8)

   2016-28  7 Sep 2016 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen  (one, photo)  2nd round: 1-8 -- (Doubts were raised in the first round that were not answered in the second round for this sighting).


Little Gull  (Hydrocoloeus minutus)  (4 / 6)

Little Gull  (2016-07)
by Tim Avery

   2016-07  2 May 2016 - Powell Lake, Lehi, Utah Co., by Tim Avery,  (1st winter, photos)  1st round: 9-0

Heermann's Gull  (Larus heermanni)  (0 / 3)
2016-04  18 Mar 2016 - Lake Powell, Kane Co., by Keith Brink,  (30 adults)  2nd round: 0-9  --  (The number of birds seen at this time of year and at a great distance with binoculars, plus other concerns about this extraordinary record, caused universal skepticism about accepting such a sighting).


Western Gull  (Larus glaucoides)  (9 / 13)

   2016-31  13 Sep 2016 - Lee Kay Ponds, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen  (juvenile, photos)  1st round:  9-0


Iceland Gull  (Larus glaucoides)  (6 / 6)

   2016-39  13 Oct 2016 - Lee Kay Ponds, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen   (adult, photos)  2nd round:1-8 -- (There were quite a few questions about some of the field marks observed on this bird, so other species could not be eliminated).


   2016-47  24 Nov 2016 - Lee Kay Ponds, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen   (1st cycle, photos)   2nd round: 9-0  --  (Though the differences between Thayer's and Iceland Gulls is pretty indistinct, and this bird was close to the line, the doubt in the first round was dropped to form a consensus).


Least Tern  (Sterna hirundo)  (5 / 16)

   2016-14  16 May 2016 - Powell Lake, Lehi, Utah Co., by Tim Avery,  (adult, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Vaux's Swift  (Chaetura vauxi )  (9 / 19)

   2016-10  10 May 2016 - Swaner Nature Center, Park City, Summit Co., by Bryant Olsen,  (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Broad-billed Hummingbird (2016-41)
by September Smith


Broad-billed Hummingbird  (Cynanthus latirostris)  (3 / 8)

   2016-41  10 Oct - 20 Nov 2016 - Hurricane, Washington Co., by September Smith   (adult male, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Ruby-throated Hummingbird   (Cynanthus latirostris)  (0 / 2)

   2016-29  6 Sep 2016 - Roosevelt, Duchesne Co., by David Taylor  (female type, photos)  2nd round: 0-9 -- (The difficulty of this ID was met by some excellent research by the committee, pointing to the broad, rounded wingtips, and other pretty subtle but important characteristics).


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  (Sphyrapicus varius)  (15 / 17)

   2016-01  19 Dec 2015 - Porcupine Ranch, Grand Co., by Steve Heinrich,  (immature, photos)  2nd round: 6-1  --  (Despite concerns of hybridization, the date of this juvenile plumage supported the ID as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker).
2016-03  13 Mar 2016 - Moab, Grand Co., by Katie Cleveland,  (juvenile, photos)   1st round: 9-0

   2016-34  23 Sep 2016 - Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., by Kristina Haycock   (female)  2nd round:1-7 -- (Despite the reference to a clean white throat, the lack of photos, the lack of optical equipment and no previous experience with sapsuckers, caused concerns that a Red-naped Sapsucker couldn't be credibly eliminated).

   2016-38  12 Oct 2016 -Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen   (adult male, photos)  2nd round: 7-2  --  (There were questions about some signs of hybridization, but most reviewers went with the preponderance of the evidence).


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2016-03)
by Katie Cleveland

Red-breasted Sapsucker  (Sphyrapicus ruber)  (9 / 14)

   2016-37  27 Sep 2016 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Kendall Watkins   (adult, photos)  2nd round: 9-0  --  (A minor question of possible hybridization was resolved in the second round for a unanimous decision).

   2016-49  17 Dec 2016 - Mount Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake Co., by Ian Batterman   (male, photos)  2nd round: 0-9 -- (Signs or hybridization showed up clearly in a second set of photos that were sent in a week later, showing it to be a hybrid bird).


Gilded Flicker  (Colaptes chrysoides)  (2 / 2)

   2016-08  2 Apr 2016 - Beaver Dam Slope, Washington Co., by Tim Avery,  (female, photos)   2nd round:  7-2  --  ( The description of the bird overcame the unclear photo and the possibility of a hybrid).


Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  (Empidonax Flaviventris)  (14 / 18)

   2016-33  9 Sep 2016 - International Center, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen  (adult, photos)  2nd round: 1-7 -- (This was a highly research and much discussed record which was very close in the first round. In the end, the decision was not that it isn't a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, but that there is too much doubt to accept this as a first state record).


 Least Flycatcher  (Empidonax minimus)  (14 / 18)
   2016-19  24 Aug 2016 - Antelope Island SP. Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen  (one, photos)  2nd round: 7-2  --  (An empidonax flycatcher in the fall with no vocalization is a tough ID, but the photos showed enough subtle field marks to be convincing).


Tropical Kingbird  (Tyrannus melancholicus)   (3 3)

Tropical Kingbird  (2016-16)
by Tim Avery

   2016-16  27 May 2016 - Utah Lake Parkway Trail, Utah Co., by Tim Avery,  (adult, photos)  2nd round: 8-1  --  (A small sliver of doubt was expressed but the evidence for Tropical Kingbird was very strong).


Blue-headed Vireo  (Vireo solitarius)  (0 / 5)

   2016-36  15 Sep 2016 - Antelope Island SP - Garr Ranch, Davis Co., by Kendall Watkins   (one, photos)  3rd: 3-6 -- (The ID seemed to depend mainly on how much contract the reviewers could see between the face and the throat and between the head and the back of this bird. Some thought there was enough and others thought there wasn't enough. With those doubts, the ID was in question in this very close call).

Philadelphia Vireo  (Vireo philadelphicus)  (4 / 5)
   2016-21  30 Aug 2016 - Utah Lake, North Shore, Utah Co., by Tim Avery  (one, photo)  2nd round: 7-2  --  (The doubt about this difficult ID wasn't resolved in the second round, but most reviewers were still convinced by the dark lores and the yellow underside being deepest in the chest).


Tennessee Warbler  (Oreothlypis peregrina)  (7 / 8)

   2016-15  22 May 2016 - Bountiful Pond, Davis Co., by Kathy and Joel Beyer,  (adult male)  1st round: 9-0

   2016-20  17 Jul 2016 - Alta Town Hall, Salt Lake Co., by Tim Avery  (female)  2nd round: 7-2  --  (The time of year and possible confusion with similar species were a concern, but the description of an experienced birder was convincing).

   2016-26  27 Aug 2016 - Bountiful Pond, Davis Co., by Kendall Watkins  (1st fall, photos)  1st round: 9-0

   2016-35  24 Sep 2016 - Salt Lake International Center, Salt Lale City, Salt Lake Co., by Kenny Frisch   (juvenile)  2nd round: 8-0  --  (The concern about a short observation time, sent this to a second round where the decision became unanimous).


Hooded Warbler  (Geothlypis citrina)  (3 / 6)

   2016-05  18 Apr 2016 - Capitol Reef NP, Garfield Co., by Nate Geesaman,  (photos)  1st round: 9-0


Northern Parula  (Setophaga americana)  (16 / 24)

   2016-12  14 May 2016 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Mike Hearell,  (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Chestnut-sided Warbler  (Setophaga magnolia)  (11 / 21)

   2016-11  10 May 2016 - Songbird Trail, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell,  (one heard, audio)  2nd round: 6-3  --  (The similarity of the song on the recording to a Yellow Warbler was a concern, but the consistency of the phasing rather than the varied song was good enough to accept this record by audio alone).


Palm Warbler  (Setophaga palmarum)  (10 / 18)

   2016-06  28 Apr 2016 - Park City, Summit Co., by Matthew Pendleton,  (photo) 1st round: 9-0


Canada Warbler  (Cardellina canadensis)  (1 / 2)

Canada Warbler  (2016-27)
by Kenny Frisch

   2016-27  6 Sep 2016 - Big Cottonwood Park, Salt Lake Co., by Kenny Frisch  (one, photos), and by Joel Beyer (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Scarlet Tanager  (Piranga olivacea)  (4 / 9)

   2016-13  17 May 2016 - Utah Lake Parkway Trail (no. shore), Utah Co., by Tim Avery,  (adult female, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Varied Bunting  (Passerina versicolor)  (0 / 0)

   2016-25  27 Aug 2016 - West Weber, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell  (female type, photos)  2nd round:1-7 -- (A lot of time was spent in evaluating this female bunting, but there were too many questions that arose to be able to accept this sighting for a first in the state).


Purple Finch   (Carpodacus purpureus)  (3 / 3)
2016-02  16 Jan 2016 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Kenny Frisch,  (female / 1st year male, photos)  2nd round: 8-1abs  --  (Because of some minor questions, this record was sent to a second round to make sure these questions were discussed. This important sighting was confirmed in the second round).


Rusty Blackbird  (Euphagus carolinus)  (6 / 11)

   2016-48  12 Dec 2016 - Buffalo Ranch, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen and Mike Hearell   (female, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Eastern Meadlowlark   (Sturnella magna lilianae)  (0 / 0)

   2016-09  3 Apr 2016 - Zella Tank, Beaver Dam Slope, Washington Co., by Tim Avery,  (adult?, photos)  2nd round: 3-6 -- (The higher standard for a first state record created some doubt and a hope for a more clear record for the first sighting for Utah).



* The heading photo is of a Little Gull by Tim Avery (Record 2016-07)