UBRC Report         

Utah Birds Records Committee – Report for 2017 

Voting Members: Kathy Beyer, Kenny Frisch, Stephanie Greenwood, Dennis Shirley, 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 78 records of 50 species submitted in 2017.  The Committee accepted 66 of these records or 84.6%.. Of the records not accepted, seven were due to insufficient descriptive details to eliminate similar species. Three were thought to be possible hybrids.  One was thought to be misidentified and one was of questionable natural origin.


Besides the Voting Members listed above, Mike Hearell who became a member in 2018, also participated in the review of  records for 2017.  The webmaster, Milt Moody, compiled this report, obtaining information from the website and the "Summary Pages" of the records themselves.

This year, four new species were added to the checklist of Utah birds.  A sighting of a Common Crane at Green River, in Grand County on  March 10th 2017 by Kathleen and Hal Robins was accepted as a naturally occurring bird.  On March 27th a Black-throated Green Warbler was discovered in Logan by Bonnie Eves and a video and sight record were submitted and accepted unanimously in the first round.  A report of a Bell's Sparrow on Beaver Dam Slope in Washington County by Tim Avery, Kenny Frisch and Nate Brown was accepted in the second round.  In August an Arctic Tern was discovered at Willard Bay State Park by Jay Carlisle and was seen by many for almost a week. Documentation was provided by Jay Carlisle and Bryant Olsen and there were many great photos and even an audio recording was provided for this first state record.  This increased the number of Utah species to 462.


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, 59th 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.



Scaled Quail  (Callipepla squamata)  (0 / 2)

    2017-45  19 Jul 2017 - Boulder, Garfield Co., by Ryan McDermott   (adult, Photos)   2nd round: 0-9  -- (The ID was not in doubt, but the distance from its natural range and other factors created doubt that this bird was naturally occurring).


Red-necked Grebe  (Podiceps grisegena)  (16 / 25)

    2017-58  11 Nov 2017 -  East Canyon Reservoir, Morgan  Co., by Weston Smith   (one, Photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2017-59  14 Nov 2017 -  Pineview Reservoir, Weber  Co., by Kristin Purdy   (adult)   1st round: 9-0


Common Crane  (Grus grus)  (1 / 1)

Common Crane  (2017-18)
 by Kathleen & Hal Robins

    2017-18  10 Mar 2017 - Green River, Grand Co., by Kathleen & Hal Robins   (adult, photos)  1st round: 9-0   (First state record)


Whip-poor-will  (Antrostomus arizonae)  (2 / 2) --[Mexican Whip-poor-will]

    2017-26  12 May 2017 - Stockton Canyon, Tooele Co., by David Taylor   (one, Video)  1st round: 0-9  --  (Identified unanimously as a Common Poorwill)


Vaux's Swift  (Chaetura vauxi )  (6 / 20)

    2017-36  7 May 2017 - Tonaquint Park, St. George, Washington Co., by David Wheeler   (adult, Photos)  1st round: 9-0


Broad-billed Hummingbird  (Cynanthus latirostris)  (4 / 9)

    2017-54  2 Oct 2017 - Castle Valley, Grand Co., by Glenn Kincaid   (adult male, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Ruff  (Calidris pugnax (5 / 8)

    2017-23  6 Sep 2016 - Utah Lake State Park, Utah Co., by Kendall Watkins   (juvenile, photos)  2nd round: 8-1 -- (There was some question on this record but a large majority were convinced that this is a Ruff).

    2017-49  27 Sep 2017 - Farmington Bay, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen   (adult male, Photos)  1st round: 9-0


White-rumped Sandpiper   (Calidris fuscicollis)  (1 / 8)

    Sight Record #2017-08  2 Sep 2016 - Utah Lake SP, Utah Co., by Tim Avery   (one, photo)   2nd round: 9-0 -- (Some concerns in the first round blind vote were resolved in the second round).


Red Phalarope  (Phalaropus fulicarius)  (4 /16)

    Sight Record #2017-10  26 Sep 2016 - Antelope Island SP Marina, Davis Co., by Tim Avery   (two, photos)  1st round: 9-0

Long-tailed Jaeger  (Stercorarius longicaudus)  (2 / 11)

    2017-25  3 May 2016 - Sand Hollow SP, Washington Co., by Rick Fridell   (adult, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Long-tailed Jaeger  (2017-25)
  by Rick Fridell

Little Gull  (2017-22)
  by Kenny Frisch

Little Gull  (Hydrocoloeus minutus)  (5 / 7)
2017-22  22 Oct  2013 - Farmington Bay WMA, Davis Co., by Kenny Frisch   (juvenile, photos)  1st round:  9-0

    2017-30  13 May 2017 - North Shore of Utah Lake, Utah Co., by Karen Welch   (2nd winter, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Iceland Gull  (Larus glaucoides)  (7 / 7)
  2017-02  24 Dec 2016 - Lee Kay Ponds, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen   (adult, photos)  3rd round: 3-6 -- (The committee had difficulty separating this bird from a Thayer's Gull. This may come from the same concerns that recently caused the AOU s to merged Iceland Gull and Thayer's Gull into one species).

    2017-05  21 Jan 2017 - Farmington Bay WMA, Davis Co., by Mike Hearell   (juvenile, photos)  2nd 8-1 -- (Not withstanding the taxonomic difficulty of the Thayers-Iclendic complex, the committee fell on the Iceland side. The AOU has since merged these two species, giving some relief to reviewers).


Arctic Tern  (Sterna hirundo)  (1 / 1)

    2017-46    First State Record   8 Aug 2017 - Willard Bay Park, Box Elder Co., by Jay Carlisle, Bryant Olsen   (adult, Photos)  1st round: 9-0

Arctic Tern  (2017-46)
by Bryant Olsen

Magnificent Frigatebird  (2017-24)
by Rick Fridell

Red-throated Loon  (Gavia stellata)  (10/18)
    2017-17  27 Jan 2017 - Warm Creek Bay, Kane Co., by Roy Morris   (adult, photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2017-11  29 Jan 2017 - Quail Creek Reservoir, Washington Co., by Tim Avery   (adult, photos)   1st round: 9-0

    2017-71  3 Nov 2017 - Scofield Reservoir, Carbon Co.,   by Bryan Shirley   (1st winter)   1st round: 9-0


Magnificent Frigatebird  (Fregata magnificens)  (1 / 2)
2017-24  15 Apr 2016 - Various places in Washington Co., by Rick Fridell   (2nd cycle female, photos)   1st round: 9-0


Brown Pelican  (Pelecanus occidentalis)  (3 / 8)

    2017-32  18 May 2017 - Gunnison Island, Great Salt Lake, Box Elder Co., by John Neill   (dead, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Least Bittern  (Ixobrychus exilis)  (3 / 11)
   2017-21  10 May 2015 - Virgin River Trail, Washington Co., by Austin R. Spence   (adult, photo)  1st round:  9-0

White Ibis  (2017-41)
by Bryant Olsen

White Ibis  (Eudocimus albus)   (2 / 3)

    2017-41  12 Jun 2017 - Farmington Bay WMA, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen   (adult, Photo)   1st round: 9-0


Zone-tailed Hawk  (Buteo albonotatus)  (9 / 18)

    2017-51  19 Apr 2017 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Hema Kumar   (adult)   2nd round: 8-1 -- (The concern that the description didn't eliminating the Common Blackhawk, known to be in the area, pushed the record to a second round where the concern was somewhat alleviated and the decision held for a Zone-tailed Hawk).

    2017-35  7 May 2017 - Kolob Terraces area, Washington Co., by David Wheeler   (adult, Photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2017-43  12 Jun 2017 - East of Cisco, Grand Co., by Brian Davis   (adult)   2nd round: 9-0 -- (With no photo, a high-wind high-wind situation and no optical equipment, there was some doubt in the first round, but it was accepted unanimously in the second).


Great Gray Owl  (Strix nebulosa)  (2 / 7)

Great Gray Owl  (2017-14)
by Cary Hobbs

    2017-14  29 Jan 2017 - Near Midway, Wasatch Co., by Cary Hobbs   (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2017-13  2 Feb 2017 - Mountain Green, Morgan Co., by Cori Vanderbeek, Aaron Smith   (one, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Boreal Owl  (Aegolius funereus)  (1 / 4)

    2017-07  15 Jul 2016 - Center Creek, Wasatch Co., by Tim Avery   (heard, audio)  3rd round: 5-4  -- (The decision on this one came down to the audio recording. After three rounds of discussion they came down on the Boreal Owl side in a close call).

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  (Sphyrapicus varius)  (15 / 18)

    2017-56  25 Sep 2017 -  International Center, Salt Lake Co., by Matthew Pendleton   (immature male, Photos)   2nd round: 0-9  -- (A molting juvenile presented some interesting discussion by the committee, who in the second round decided that there were too many characteristics of a Red-naped Sapsucker to accept this as a Yellow-bellied).

    2017-12  15 Oct 2016 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Tim Avery   (1st fall, photos)   1st round: 9-0

    2017-62  5 Nov 2017 -  Lytle Ranch Preserve, Washington  Co.,   by Kenny Frisch   (2 juveniles, Photos)  1st round: 9-0


Red-breasted Sapsucker  (Sphyrapicus ruber)  (7 / 14)

    2017-03  5 Jan 2017 - Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., by Sylvia Wilcox   (one, photos)  2nd round: 0-9  -- (The possibility that this is a hybrid could not be ruled out).

    2017-70  10 Dec 2017 - Zion National Park, Washington Co., by Sarah Romero   (one, Photos)   2nd round:  0-8  -- (Signs of hybridization were pointed out and suggested that this is not a pure Red-breasted Sapsucker).


Alder Flycatcher   (Empidonax alnorum)   0 Vetted

    2017-15  13 Sep 2016 - Salt Lake International Center, Salt Lake Co., by Matthew Pendleton   (one, photos)  2nd round: 0-9  -- (Even a well documented sighting like this couldn't convince the committee to accept this rare empidonax, for a first state record, without a recording).


Least Flycatcher  (Empidonax minimus)  (13 / 20)

    2017-39  3 Jun 2017 - Weber River Parkway trail, Weber Co., by Bryant Olsen   (singing male, Photo)   1st round: 9-0

    2017-16  4 Jun 2016 - Little Dell Reservoir, Salt Lake Co., by Matthew Pendleton   (adult male, photos,  Audio)   1st round: 9-0

    2017-40  4 Jun 2017 - Near Warm Springs, Utah Co., by Rachel LeBlanc   (adult)  1st round: 9-0


Pacific-slope Flycatcher  (Empidonax difficilis)  (1 / 1)

    2015-24R  (Resubmitted with new information)   23 Aug 2015 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Kenny Frisch   (one, singing)  2nd round : 7-2 -- (Although there is some skepticism that this should be a separate species, it was considered that the bird in this record fits into what they've described as a Pacific-slope flycatcher).   First State Record  

Eastern Phoebe  (2017-20)
by Neil Paprocki

Eastern Phoebe  (Sayornis phoeb)   (10 / 21)
2017-20  2 Apr 2017 - Matheson Wetlands Preserve, Moab, Grand Co., by Neil Paprocki   (one, photos)  1st round:  9-0

    2017-55  24 Sep 2017 - Matheson Preserve, Grand Co., by Marcy Hafner   (one)   2nd round: 6-3  -- (Though there were several species discussed as possibilities on this record, there was just enough in the description to support this sighting).

    2017-61  10 Nov 2017 -  Confluence Park, Washington  Co., by Maurice DeMille   (adult, Photo)  1st round: 9-0


Dusky-capped Flycatcher  ( Myiarchus tuberculifer)   (1 /1)

    2017-57  29 Oct 2017 -  37.466019°, -114.038449°, Washington  Co., by Mike Schijf   (adult, Photos)  2nd round: 9-0  -- (There were enough concerns in the first round to send it to a second round where all the concerns, for this first state record, were answered).  1st State Record 


Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  (Tyrannus forficatus)  (3/ 11)

    2017-31  16 May 2017 - North Shore of Utah Lake, Utah Co., by Carl G. Lundblad   (adult, Photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2017-34  19 May 2017 - Escalante Petrified Forest SP, Garfield Co., by Bill Asteriades   (one)   2nd round: 9-0  -- (Even a 10 second sighting was long enough for this unique bird seen by an observer familiar with the species).


White-eyed Vireo  (Vireo griseus)   (1 / 4)

    2017-28  12 May 2017 - Diamond Fork Canyon, Utah Co., by John Sullivan   (adult male, Photos)  1st round: 9-0


White-eyed Vireo  (2017-20)
by John Sullivan

Blue-headed Vireo  (2017-09)
by Tim Avery


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

    2017-09  11 Sep 2016 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Tim Avery   (heard, photo)  2nd round: 9-0  -- (Concerns about Cassin's Vireo not being ruled out were resolved by a side-by-side comparison and explanation supplied by one of the reviewers).

Philadelphia Vireo  (Vireo philadelphicus)  (3 / 5)

    2017-65  8 Sep 2007 - Jordan River Parkway, Salt Lake  Co., by Jack Binch   (one, Photos)   2nd round: 0-9  -- (First-round suggestions that this might be a Warbling Vireo were convincing to everyone in the second round).

    2017-77  27 May 2016 - City Creek Canyon, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co.,   by Chan Nam   (one, Photos)   2nd round: 0-8  -- (A Warbling Vireo could not be ruled out as a possibility).


Eastern Bluebird  (Sialia sialis)  (1 / 5) 
2017-01  1 Jan 2017 - Along Jordan River, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen   (male & female, photos)  1st round: 9-0


Eastern Towhee   (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  (0 / 0)
    2017-42  17 Jun 2017 - Kolob Canyon, Washington Co., by Robin Ganesan   (adult, male)    1st round: 0-9  -- (The very common Spotted Towhee was not ruled out as a possibility, so this sighting couldn't be accepted for a first state record for this species).

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch  (2017-04)
by Will Britton

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch  (Leucosticte australis)  (6 / 6)

    2017-04  13 Jan 2017 - Monticello, San Juan Co., by Will Britton   (10-45, photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2017-60  15 Nov 2017 -  Big Drop motorcycle trail, Grand  Co., by Glenn Kincaid   (HY male, Photos)  1st round: 9-0

    2017-64  19 Nov 2017 - Alta, Salt Lake  Co., by Bryant Olsen   (Hatch Year, Photos)  3rd round: 4-5  -- (What looked like an easy call in the first round became more and more unclear as an immature Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch could not be completely eliminated).

    2017-66  28 Nov 2017 - Latigo Wind Farm, Monticello, San Juan  Co., by Will Britton   (Thirty, Photos)  2nd round: 9-0  -- (This difficult ID was helped by additional photos that showed some of the questionable characteristics in a little different light).


Common Redpoll  (Acanathis flammea)  (29 / 41)
    Sight Record #2017-63  19 Nov 2017 - Alta Town feeders, Salt Lake  Co., by Bill Hunt   (one, Photo)  1st round: 9-0

    Sight Record #2017-67  2 Dec 2017 - Croydon, Morgan Co., by Weston Smitl   (adult, Photos)   1st round: 9-0

    Sight Record #2017-73  11 Dec 2017 - Powder Mountain, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell   (adult, Photo)  1st round: 9-0

    Sight Record #2017-75  19 Dec 2017 - Yellow Fork Canyon, Salt Lake Co., by Rachel LeBlanc   (6 adults)   1st round:  9-0

    Sight Record #2017-74  23 Dec 2017 - Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., by Vivian Schneggenburger   (adult female)   1st round: 9-0


McCown's Longspur  (Rhynchophanes mccownii)  (6 / 15)

    2017-72  16 Dec 2017 - Harold S. Crane WMA, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell   (male, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Bell's Sparrow  (Artemisiospiza belli)        (1 /1)
2017-06  28 Jan 2017 - Beaver Dam Wash, Washington Co., by Tim Avery   (adult male, photos   2nd round: 7-2 --  (Though there were concerns about separating this from a Sagebrush Sparrow, the majority thought this was good enough for a first state record).   First State Record


Bell's Sparrow  (2017-06)
by Nate Brown

Golden-winged Warbler  (2017-33)
by Mike Schijf

Rusty Blackbird  (Euphagus carolinus)  (7 / 12)

    2017-68  28 Nov 2017 - Boulder, Garfield Co., by Ryan McDermott   (male, Photos)   2nd round:  9-0 -- (Despite some concern about the unusual coloration in some of the photos, the visible characteristics were good for a Rusty Blackbird).


Golden-winged Warbler  (Vermivora chrysoptera)  (1 / 4)

    2017-33  27 May 2017 - St. George, Washington Co., by Mike Schijf   (male, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Prothonotary Warbler  (Protonotaria citrea)  (7 / 14)

    2017-48  25 Sep 2017 - North Fork Park, Weber Co., by Kristin Purdy   (adult male)   1st round: 9-0


Tennessee Warbler  (Oreothlypis peregrina)  (9 / 10)

    2017-53  10 Sep 2017 - West Valley City, Salt Lake Co., by Darren Hall   (one)   2nd round: 8-1 -- (With no photos or optics used in the sighting, there were some concerns, but in the end the description was convincing).

    2017-50  27 Sep 2017 - Sandy, Salt Lake Co., by Tim Avery   (probably HY, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Connecticut Warbler  (Oporornis agilis)  (0 / 2)

    2017-38  24 Sep 2016 - Sandy, Salt Lake Co., by Angie M. Branch   (1st winter)   2nd round: 3-6 -- (This 1st year bird created some problems with similar species. It was a close call for most of the reviewers, who ended up with some doubts).

Northern Parula  (2017-76)
by Bryant Olsen

Northern Parula  (Setophaga americana)  (16 / 26)

    2017-37  27 May 2017 - Bryce Canyon NP, Garfield Co., by Pete Fenner   (male, audio)  1st round:  9-0

    2017-76  29 Dec 2017 - Tracy Aviary, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen   (immature, Photos)  1st round: 9-0


Chestnut-sided Warbler  (Setophaga magnolia)  (10 / 22)

    2017-47  15 Sep 2017 - Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Weston & Louize Smith   (1st year, Photos)   1st round:  9-0 


Blackpoll Warbler  (Setophaga striata)  (5 / 15)

    2017-27  3 May 2017 - Lytle Ranch Road, Washington Co., by Rachel LeBlanc   (adult male)   2nd round: 7-2 -- (Though two reviewers though it could be confused with a Black-throated Gray Warbler, and presented good reasons for that position, the rest thought that the detailed documentation effectively eliminated that possibility and were convinced of the ID).

Black-throated Blue Warbler  (2017-52)
by Daniel Sachse

Black-throated Blue Warbler  (Setophaga caerulescens)  (6 / 21)

    2017-52  29 Sep 2017 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Daniel Sachse   (male, Photos)  1st round: 9-0


Palm Warbler  (Setophaga palmarum)  (8 / 19)

    2017-29  6 May 2017 - Garr Ranch, Antelope Island, Davis Co., by Ian Batterman   (one adult)   2nd round: 9-0 -- (With no photos, there was some initial concern, but the description of this bird brought agreement in the 2nd round).

    2017-44  30 Jun 2017 - Ponderosa CG, Juab Co., by Neldon Kunz   (one)  2nd round: 2-7 -- (With a problematic date for this sighting and no photo, it came down to the description of the bird which included rufous cap, thin bill and yellow throat and vent which is pretty convincing, but didn't include mention of streaking on the breast or tail wagging, which would have helped. Several other species were thought to be possibilities and weren't quite ruled out).


Black-throated Green Warbler  (Setophaga virens )  (1 / 1)

    2017-19  27 Mar 2017 - Logan, Cache Co., by Bonnie Eves   (male, videos:  one & two)  1st round: 9-0    (First state record)


Dickcissel  (Spiza americana)  (2 / 5)
    2017-69  17 Dec 2017 - Tonaquint Park Trail, St. George, Washington Co., by Marie Mischel   (one, Photo)   1st round: 9-0


* The heading photo is of a Bell's Sparrow by Kenny Frisch (Record 2017-06)