21-B-2018 Indigo Bunting

STATUS
Not Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
3-4
2ND ROUND
0-7
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Arthur Wilson
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Kingfisher Trail at Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge, Nampa, Idaho. He was observed just south of the trail near mile marker 1.4 .
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Was in a thick tree area near the lake. He was on a dead branch in the tree shadowed by the leafy area above. The trees base is almost in the water.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Was observed for about 10 minutes, was a clear and cool morning approximately 8:15 AM winds calm . Bird was about 150 feet to south of trail and 40 feet up in a tree. Sun was to north east of us but bird was in a shaded area in the tree. Optic used in observation was Nikon Pro-Staff P-511 binoculars and Sony DSC-HX400V.
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?
Went to "All About Birds" web site to verify the siting . Was able to match the blue color, the beak, and dark mask on face and match the song the bird was singing while observing.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
The bird is a bunting. Was able to verify by the beak, light on bottom darker above, darker mask by eyes on face and was all blue with slight whiter area near rump.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Was singing a song repeating about every minute or so while sitting alone on the limb in the tree.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
Was not sure of the type of bird for sure when observed . Got pictures, and made mental note of song sung by the bird. The bird was all blue in color, the beak was light on the bottom and darker on top, There was a small white patch of whiter shade near rump. The bird has a darker mask, nearly black around eyes , sort of like a Waxwing.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Was able to eliminate the Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird and Lazuli Bunting because none of them were all blue. Eliminated Blue Grosbeak by the beak. Grosbeak has a much thicker beak. They all had other colors somewhere visible on the bodies. The final verification was the use of the song the bird sang. ALL About Birds, website has the song down. It was identical to the song the bird made singing in the tree.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Lifer Bird! Had never seen one before this day. Studied up a bit on them last summer before going to Fort Boise to look for one seen there.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I have been birding now since April 2015. I usually do not rate myself, but I would say, I am fairly good at spotting birds that the, Good Lord, places in front of me to see.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Photo
SUPPORTING IMAGES

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Reject, specific identification not established

Extensive white mottling in flanks suggests possibility of Lazuli x Indigo Bunting.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

Photo and description fit that of the Indigo Bunting

Dave Trochlell
Accept

This appears to be an adult male Indigo Bunting with no indications of hybridization.

Carl Lundblad
Reject, specific identification not established

The amount of white in the belly, the white scalloping continuing up the breast, the hint of a wingbar, and all that in combination with lack of brown in the wings (indicating an ASY bird) all make me think this is the hybrid Lazuli X Indigo Bunting that was seen by many observers in 2018. I do believe there was a second bird present, and we should solicit submissions of that bird. In fact, I observed and photographed the other one, which I believed to be a pure Indigo, and can submit it (but it would be good to solicit submissions from anyone who saw it).

Doug Ward
Accept

While obvious this bird is mostly an Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), both the mention by the observer, as well as indicated in the pictures, there is enough white on the belly to indicate likely hybridization at some point with Lazuli Bunting (P. amoena). Too bad since it was their “lifer”.

Darren Clark
Reject, specific identification not established

I can't see enough in the photos to eliminate hybrids, which have been reported in the area in recent years.

Jay Carlisle
Reject, specific identification not established

This looks quite close to a "pure" Indigo but the hint of a wing bar and the white lower belly suggests there could be some history of hybridization (discussed on Facebook with this bird in 2018 & 2019)

SECOND ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Reject, specific identification not established

same comments

Doug Ward
Reject, specific identification not established

My initial vote was a "fat finger" mistake - had intended to vote "reject" due to obvious hybridization. My bad.

Shirley Sturts
Reject, specific identification not established

After reading the comments about the signs of possible Lazuli x Indigo Bunting hybrid, I am reluctantly changing my vote to reject,

Dave Trochlell
Reject, specific identification not established

I'm changing my vote to reject. I didn't notice the signs of hybridization in this male bunting initially, but others did see them and made convincing cases for rejecting this record.

Darren Clark
Reject, specific identification not established

Same comments as prior round.

Carl Lundblad
Reject, specific identification not established

No change

Jay Carlisle
Reject, specific identification not established

No change from round 1 vote