Documentation of Lucy's Warbler

Observer Information

Reporter:  Matt Newport   
Other Observers:  none. birding alone.; solo birder

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Lucy's Warbler
First Date/Time:  6/3/2011
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  10 minutes
County:  Montezuma
Specific Location:  37.36193 latitude, -108.94977 longitude
see link:

Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


Cottonwood trees and underbrush along stream. Riparian area in desert SW Colorado. Very dense growth of Cottonwoods, willows, and tamarask.

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Nikon Monarach 10x42 binoculars
Distance:  closest 20ft. Farthest 50-75ft...estimated based on distance measured in my back yard
Light:  Good light, but was shaded within the cottonwoods.
sky was clear and before the Arizona fires exploded and made the skies completely hazy.

Description of the Bird

Small overall and slender gray bird. First observation was it's lighter colored throat in comparison to its back and wings. I want to say that the face seemed mottled with white and gray patches. Overall, though, was this was a very pale gray bird. Final confirmation was the brown rump patch visible when it flitted between trees. I was never able to view a crown patch. Shape was definitely that of a warbler and never once thought of it being a vireo or other bird. No eye ring or eyebrow excluded Warbling Vireo and Gray Vireo. No apparent wing bars.
Behaviors: Yellow Jacket Canyon is a heavily wooded riparian area of Cottonwoods and Tamarask. There were many Yellow-rumped Warblers all calling along this whole stretch of woods, almost became a background sound. At one point I heard a distinctly different "chink" come from a bush right next to me, and out flew a small gray bird. It flew up into a cottonwood where it continued calling (never stopping to sing) as it fed. It never stopped and rapidly flitted from branch to branch while feeding. It favored the lower branches of the canapy the entire time observed, never being in the higher portions of the cottonwoods. For ten minutes I followed this bird from tree to tree downstream trying for a photo, but was not successful. It never stopped moving enough for me to catch up with it in the camera viewfinder. At one point it finally flew to another cottonwood and abrubtly stopped calling. I was not able to relocate. During the ten minutes, I was able to see it's rump patch several times.
Call: Calling was a very sharp "chink" in comparison to all the Yellow Warblers present and their "chips"
Plumage: Adult?

Similar Species Discussion

Virginia's yellow seen at all.Tail appeared shorter than what I have seen on Virginia's.
Warbling eyebrow, seemed to small, wrong call
Plumbeous eye ring, no wing bars
Gray apparent eye ring, tail not long enough, wrong call
Gray Flycatcher...too small, behaviour not correct, wrong call.

Resources Used

Kaufman's guide to birds of north time of sighting.
Peterson's guide to birds of north america...after return to car.
Peterson's "Warblers" after returning home.

Previous Experience

Life bird.


Notes made AFTER observation

Additional Information

Comments: I wish I had been able to submit photos or been able to spend a little extra time looking further after loosing the sighting. The habitat in this area was amazing.
Time: about 10:00
Elevation: 5100
Other Dates: none
Nearest Town: Cortez
Independent Observers: solo birder

Materials Available

No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

6/9/2011 1:40:00 PM