43-B-2018 Black-throated Gray Warbler

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
7-0
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1 - adult male
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Doug Ward
OTHER OBSERVERS
None
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
8263 Selkirk Ct., Hayden, Kootenai County, Idaho
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Suburban yard with mixed native and exotic conifers and deciduous trees and shrubs.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Observed the bird with 4X40 binoculars at about 5m (15ft) in bright, afternoon sun. Bird was moving through with a group of chickadees and kinglets about mid-level in a 25ft tall linden tree with few remaining leaves.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, later the same day
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
No, not at all
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Distinctive bird. Wood warbler size and shape - small passerine with medium length narrow bill, medium length legs and tail. Observed in direct comparison to Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus & P. gambeli) and Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Regulus caledula); slightly larger and stockier than all present in mixed flock.

Plumage: First noticed striking black and white coloration with distinct black flank streaking on bright white underparts. Facial pattern distinctive – black triangular throat including chin, black auricular patch in bright white face, and black crown. Upperparts grey; underparts bright white. White wing bars and white tail spots apparent.

Bill / Feet / Eye Color: Narrow blackish bill; black legs; dark eye.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Landed briefly in open deciduous tree (linden sp.) as it moved through with a mixed flock of chickadees and kinglets. Comparatively calm, though actively moving with a horizontal posture.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
Very familiar with this species, and given the striking plumage of an adult male Black-throated Gray, knew immediately.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Very distinctive bird as it was an adult male, which I found surprising (other than seeing it at all) given time of year. Striking black and white coloration eliminate most other warblers.

Adult male Blackpoll Warbler (S. striata) eliminated by black auricular (cheek) patch. Other “black-throated” warblers eliminated by lack of any yellow coloration on this bird.

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) eliminated by this bird’s relatively bi-colored general appearance (grey above and white below) rather than fairly uniformly streaked black and white. In addition, this bird had classic Setophaga structure (rather stocky, long tailed) and behavior (relatively calm, horizontal posture as it moved through external braches) versus the slim, short tailed Black-and-white which also tends to “creep” near the trunk of trees.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Have seen many Black-throated Gray Warblers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Washington, and in British Columbia (Vancouver area), Canada. Am also familiar with Blackpoll and Black-and-white Warblers in numerous locations.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I've been actively birding for 45 years and consider myself advanced.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
None

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Description supports identification of Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

well described and similar warblers eliminated

Jon Isacoff
Accept

Observer field notes definitively describe Black-throated Gray Warbler and rule out the two most similar adult-plumaged species, both of which are about as rare in this particular sub-region of Idaho. Absence of Black-and-White Warbler's nuthatch-like behavior is telling in affirming the identity. Adult male Blackpoll at this late date is not impossible but much more likely a representative of that species would be a straggling hatch year, which is yet more distinctly unlike Black-throated Gray.

Dave Trochlell
Accept

This fine bird report nicely eliminated other similar warbler species and I'm convinced.

Darren Clark
Accept

Description eliminates similar species and accurately describes Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Carl Lundblad
Accept

Great description of a distinctive bird, plus careful elimination of the superficially-similar warblers.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

Convincing description - only minor complaint is the lack of mention of the yellow supraloral spot but all other field marks match up.