23-B-2018 Black and White Warbler

STATUS
Pending
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
2
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Michael D. Hunter
OTHER OBSERVERS
Kirk Geisler
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Camas National Wildlife Refuge, Hamer, Idaho
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Windbreak of Russian Olive and other trees just west of the Camas NWR headquarters.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
About 10 to 15 minutes, partly cloudy (mostly sunny), temperature in the 70s, calm wind. Each of us had Swarovski 10X42 binoculars. Kirk, a good amateur photographer, also had his camera, but never got a clear shot for long enough to take a photo.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Sibley's Guide to North American Birds iPhone app.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Adult male, perfectly matching the Sibley field guide. Black and white striped head, including white stripe above the eye. Black and white striped abdomen. No yellow markings anywhere.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Moving around in the Russian Olive tree between approx. 8 to 15 ft. above the ground, staying mostly hidden, but occasionally coming out where we could see him.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
We were looking for the Chestnut-sided Warbler which had been reported by others. Kirk Geisler was the first to see this bird. Kirk has a son in Ohio with whom he birds about once per year during the migration season (Magee Marsh). He had just returned from Ohio a couple weeks earlier. He and his son have seen and photographed many warblers and other birds there, including B&W Warblers. After seeing this bird at Camas 3 or 4 times, briefly but with unobstructed views, it was a clear match to the field guide. After a few minutes of not appearing, I played the B&W Warbler call from my phone, which prompted him to come out in the open again. He did not call back.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Not many warblers that are this "black and white" and "striped". This bird matched the field guide perfectly; striped head, including white stripe above the eye. He was not the Chestnut-sided we had been looking for (lacking Chestnut-sided markings). Definitely not a Black-throated Gray warbler, which we'd seen earlier in the day in a different habitat (Cress Creek - Juniper habitat). To double check however, I looked for the yellow in front of the eye, which was absent. It was not a Blackpoll Warbler which lacks the white stripe above the eye that this bird had. Not a Black-capped or Mountain Chickadee, Not a Nuthatch which doesn't have the striping on the belly, which this bird had.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
As stated, Kirk Geisler has photographed B&W Warlbers with his son at Magee Marsh in Ohio. He had just returned from Ohio a couple weeks earlier where he and his son had seen several B&W Warblers. I've been birding for about 52 years, having started with my father, the late Donnell Hunter, who taught me the birds since age ll. We've recorded seeing B&W Warblers only twice before during our annual "May Day" (Big Day), once in 1995, and then again in 2010. Over the last 52 years we've accumulated 17 species of warblers on our cumulative SE Idaho May Day list. (Our complete list for SE Idaho is 231 species.)
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
See above: About 52 years birding mostly SE Idaho. But I also travel for business and have birded in other parts of the USA, as well as several foreign countries. I've started, but haven't finished compiling my life list, but I'm guessing I'm in the 400 to 600 species range by now.
Despite years of experience, I'm not as good as Darren Clark or Steve Butterworth, but I can keep up with them pretty well.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
None