LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

     

1. English and Scientific names: Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):

1 male (possibly an ASY male, although I donít know if I can be sure of this without better images of the wing. The wings, however, appear rather solidly bright blue and contrasty, with wide white wingbars. I know that some adult males (ASY and older) can still retain extensive brown edging to the crown and back during the summer, which this bird shows to a lesser degree).

3. Locality: Parish: Cameron Parish

†† Specific Locality: Peveto Woods Sanctuary

4. Date(s) when observed: 30 April 2014

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 5:52 and again at 6:03 PM

6. Reporting observer and address: Cameron Rutt, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Erik Johnson, Mike Harvey, John Mittermeier, Glenn Seeholzer, Ryan Terrill, and Matt Brady

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): There were a host of other birds, from the sounds of it, who also saw this bird earlier in the day. I donít know who found it, nor do I know the names of those other observers.

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): At first the bird was in rather poor light, being mostly backlit, although its most salient features were still apparent. When we saw it the second time, it was close and in great late-day light, with the sun to our backs.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Swarovski EL 8.5x42 binoculars and a Canon 60D with a 400mm f/5.6L

11. Distance to bird(s): As close as approximately 30 feet.

12. Duration of observation: In all, perhaps 45 seconds.

13. Habitat: Both times we observed the bird, it was in the weedy, brushy field (with scattered trees and shrubs) that lies just north of the entrance road to the Peveto Woods parking lot (Sarasota Drive) and just east of Gulf View Road. More specifically, it was in the general vicinity of the old foundation, porter portal, and northern dirt track ďentrance.Ē

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): The bird appeared to be in a rather loose association with a fair-sized flock (perhaps 15-20) of roving Indigo Buntings. We were in pursuit of the bird during the first observation, continuing to flush the buntings westward, towards the road. Ten minutes later, the Lazuli Bunting flew in to some weedy vegetation and foraged out-of-sight, but in the immediate vicinity of 2-3 Indigo Buntings.

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species): Rather than simply describing the details of the bird from the photos, Iíll let the images themselves do the talking. I saw the bird best on my cameraís LCD screen (and later the computer) as I was more focused on documenting the bird than watching it myself. As soon as I saw where the bird was, I began snapping photos, thus I was hardly able to actually appreciate the bird in the field.

16. Voice: I never knowingly heard the bird call.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): All other buntings eliminated by the combination of the birdís vibrant sky-blue upperparts, head, and throat; strong white wingbars; a white belly; and peachy-salmon breast, sharply delineated from the blue throat. The most likely candidate for confusion would be an Indigo x Lazuli hybrid, but this combination can be ruled out by the much paler, more sky blue coloration to the head and upperparts (isolating contrasting black lores) and the birdís rich breast coloration. In all respects, this bird fits a classic male Lazuli Bunting, showing no signs of intermediacy.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Yes (Cameron Rutt)

19. Previous experience with this species: Iíve seen Lazuli Buntings intermittently in the West (including last year in Texas and California) but never in high volumes. Iíve also seen this species extralimitally in Pennsylvania (once).

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

a. at time of observation: None

b. after observation: Sibley and Pyle (for ageing)

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation (date:_____); __x__memory (and photos).

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes

23. Date: 1 May 2014††† Time: 9:30 PM