First heard / observed by D.Faike. Later heard / observed by Elise Faike
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Discovered approx 3 mi N of Challis, ID, W of Hwy 93, along N edge of reporter's property line at N 44d 33.103m, W 114d 12.071m.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Residential backyard, foraging and roosting within dense Russian olive windrow, foraging within dense sage / rabbitbrush / tall grassland scrub, sometimes foraging atop open dirt / short grassland below Russian olive overstory.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
First observed (Fri) for 10 minutes following discovery until bird flew off southward. Bird reappeared 6 hr later next to deck and was observed for 3-4 min at 20 ft distance using 8.5x binocs. On following day (Sat) bird was heard early AM and later observed / followed / photographed for approx 30 min at 15 - 50 ft distance using 10x binocs and 300mm lens. On third day (Sun) bird was heard / observed several times throughout day and evidently left sometime following late afternoon. Total duration of last day observation time was 20-30 min.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, later the same day
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, later the same day
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
NAS Sibley Guide to Birds
Peterson Field Guide to Warblers (Dunn and Garrett)
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Wood-warblers (Parulidae) with long, narrow beaks. Based on written notes (after obs, prior to reference look-up): dark eye stripe; light (broad) supercilium; light patch under throat; bright yellow undertail coverts; white patch from legs to vent; darker (greyish- to reddish-brown) cap; no obvious wing barring; long streaks along flanks; broken eye ring; black legs, beak; overall grey to light coffee color; constant tail pumping.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
No other birds were observed near this one, most having already migrated elsewhere. Feeding was conducted by slowly hopping through lower canopy of trees, mid-canopy of shrubs and along ground both in open and underneath overstory canopy. On limited occasion the bird sallied about 3-4 ft distance to catch something mid-air. Bird was seen constantly tilting head while it evidently observed leaves/stems/ground. Observed feeding was upon small insects, grubs and spiders. Chipping sounded like the NAS twisting bird caller, sort of a cupping, whooping chip, neither tinny nor sharp.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I enjoy birding by ear and the chip call wasn't one I was familiar with - the main reason I fetched binocs and looked for its source. In the dense foliage I could see bright yellow undertail coverts and active tail pumping - not a usual combo for area birds. I sat down and waited, then spied a dark eye strip and light supercilium and decide to get Elise to corroborate this observation. Together we noted several features before the bird flew off, then returned to the house to write them down before looking them up. I grabbed Sibley and she grabbed the warbler book. I immediately recognized the bird and kept it to myself. Then we switched books before sharing respective conclusion - we both were 99% sure it was a Palm Warbler. For me, the tail-pumping was the clincher. For Elise, the broad, light supercilium was the clincher.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
The only similar species we see here is the orange-crowned warbler, but it doesn't have the supercilium and doesn't pump its tail.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Low with Palm Warbler and high with Orange-crowned Warbler. That said, I've observed Palm Warblers elsewhere, in four other states and Panama - all in alternate (breeding) plumage. But fall warblers are always a bit more challenging.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
Sobering thought (good question, embarrassing answer), I've been birding 60 years. Because birding was once more of a lifestyle than a hobby, I'd have to say that even though I'm not as active or as physically and mentally sharp as I used to be, I'm still an advanced birder. So too would be the other observer of this bird, my spouse Elise.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
This sighting was posted earlier on e-bird, with photos. I guess that's why the bird police (Shirley) told me to get off my lazy duff and send in a report.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Description and photos support the identification of Palm Warbler.
Description and photos confirm the identification
Decent description and diagnostic photos – pretty easy acceptance.