Documentation of Northern Waterthrush

Observer Information

Reporter:  Polly Neldner  PO Box 358,   La Veta, CO  81055
Other Observers:  Paul Neldner; I believe we are the original finders of this bird.

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Northern Waterthrush
First Date/Time:  8/17/2012
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  Around 5 minutes
County:  Alamosa
Specific Location:  Area 92 of Blanca Wetlands
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


Riparian. High mountain valley. Sage, Russian Olive, willows. Grassy area surrounding waterway.

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Swarovski EL 8.5X42 and Swarovski and Swarovski 10X42 binoculars. 500mm lens
Distance:  approximately 25-30 ft.
Light:  Slightly overcast, alternately sunny. Light quality was very good. Bird was in the open, not shaded.

Description of the Bird

White supercilium, narrow toward rear of supercilium. Dense black streaks across breast, extending down the flanks. Approximately 6 inches long. Brown crown neck and back. Squarish tail. Legs were relatively long and appeared "pinkish". Relatively thin "sharp looking" beak.
Behaviors: Bird was walking and, for short distances, running along the banks of the waterway, bobbing it's tail.
Call: None heard
Plumage: Yellow adult

Similar Species Discussion

Although tail bobbing would suggest Spotted Sandpiper, this bird was streaked, not spotted eliminating both breeding and non-breeding of Spotted Sandpiper. Bold supercilium also eliminates Spotted Sandpiper, as does blunt squarish tail and the yellowish wash of the Northern Waterthrush

Resources Used

Sibley Guide to Birds, Peterson Field Guide to Birds, Stokes' Field guide. Sources were used to confirm after the sighting.

Previous Experience

We see Spotted Sandpipers with a great deal of regularity and were able to quickly eliminate that species. Have seen Northern Waterthrush in Costa Rica and Lamar, CO


Notes made DURING observation

Additional Information

Comments: The supporting photos do not pick up the yellow wash of this bird very well. This was clearly a yellow form of Northern Waterthrush.
Time: 8:45 a.m.
Elevation: approx. 7,500 ft.
Other Dates: none
Nearest Town: Alamosa
Independent Observers: I believe we are the original finders of this bird.

Materials Available

Photographer: Polly Neldner

Photos |


Date Documentation Submitted

8/21/2012 1:18:00 PM
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