LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE REPORT FORM
1. English and Scientific names: Spotted Towhee - Pipilo maculatus arcticus
2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): 1-3 on separate dates and locations within 2 separate Parishes
3. Locality: LOUISIANA: (parish) 2 separate locations in Red River and Bossier Parishes-
1. Bossier Parish- Red River National Wildlife Refuge, Headquarters Unit- W and central-West portions of chocolate trail.
2. Red River Parish- Red River National Wildlife Refuge, Bayou Pierre Unit, Yates Tract. On S side of P.R.401 approx .2-.3 miles East of refuge barn on S side of rd.
3. Bossier Parish- RRNWR Headquarters Unit. Undoubtedly same 1 of three birds found on 11/03.
4. Date(s) when observed:
1. 11/03/13- Bossier Parish. RRNWR Headquarters Unit.
2. 11/09/13 Red River Parish- RRNWR Bayou Pierre Unit, Yates Tract.
3. 11/10/13 Bossier Parish (same 1 of 3 as on 11/03) RRNWR Headquarters Unit.
5. Time(s) of day when observed:
1. 11/03/13- Briefly at approx 0745 for h.o. indiv, then 0800-0830 for two birds actually seen
2. 11/09/13- Approx 0745-0800, then for another 15 minutes shrtly afterward.
3. 11/10/13- Aprox 0800
6. Reporting observer and address: Terry Davis, 2327 Walnut Apt #C. Bossier City, La. 71112
7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Ronnie Maum, Mark Wilson, Jeff Trahan, Rosemary Seidler and Charlie Lyon.
8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):
9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):
1. 11/03/13- Bossier par. RRNWR Headquarters Unit- regarding 2 of 3 that were seen. Female or hy male was observed in good light somewhat to the N-w of our observation point. Male was very adept at putting sun between us and it during the viewing.
2. 11/09/13- Red River Parish. RRNWR Bayou Pierre Unit, Yates Tract. Bird was observed in decent light but cloudy to our South and Southwest.
10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Swarovski 10x50 binoculars- new.
11. Distance to bird(s):
1. 11/03/13- From h.o. at very close range, then approx 30' to 100'
2. 11/09/13- From 15' to 75' during observation.
3. 11/10/13- Heard only growls at approx 100' distant.
12. Duration of observation:
1. 11/03/13- RRNWR Headquarters Unit. Approx from brief with first h.o. to on and off thirty minutes for the two additional birds.
2. 11/09/13- 10-15 minutes, then 15 minutes respectively, when revisiting with Charlie afterward.
3. 11/10/13- Brief h.o. 2-3 times within course of a few minutes.
1. Bossier Parish- RRNWR Headquarters- med height, moist/wet, shrubby thicket edging grassy/ weedy path.
2. Red River Parish- RRNWR Bayou Pierre Unit, Yates Tract- Tall grassy/ weedy field with much Andropogon, Campsis and fairly widely scattered clumps of small green ash and oaks. Bird found near edge of rd in Smilax near small tree clump- in comparative open regarding earlier Bossier birds.
14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):
1. 11/03/13- Bossier parish- RRNWR Headquarters unit. Clear, calm, ~50 degrees. Approx 0800-0830 between first heard-only and sightings of latter pair- Found as 1, 2 along West and central West portions of Chocolate trail. First was heard-only giving 2-3 "growl"-calls at close range in dense roughleaf dogwood edged with grasses and various weeds / vines- near W end of trail- near first curve to right if walking E and on S side of path. The pr was prob ad f (deep but warmish dark brown above- not blackish gray like some prob hy m I've seen) and ad m (black-backed) in mixed dense thicket edged with marsh elder approx 200 yards E of first location on S side of path- with numerous other sparrows including WCSP, WTSP, SWSP, SOSP LISP. Ronnie obtained excellent photos of the male. I obtained poor recordings of male which was vocal, but comparatively more spaced with its calls. I've found three in a day over several locations and miles a couple of times in the past but this is a first for three birds at one spot!!
The male was furtive and stuck to denser portions of thickets, initially only approaching on open perches with sun behind it- before finally relocating to an open perch at a better sun angle for better views and photos. The female/ h.y. male did not appear to have any white at base of primaries which would suggest hybrid. She was seen well briefly (30 seconds or so) at a distance of approx 30' feet at a good sun angle just within the edge of the thicket. The male in photos showed some extremely faint streaking at base of primaries but was looking at camera screen afield and was hard to see. All appeared to be heavily-spotted "plains" arcticus. Ronnie obtained excellent photos of the probable ad male.
2. 11/09/13- Red River Parish- RRNWR- Bayou Pierre Unit, Yates tract. Cloudy, ~50 degrees, calm. Prob ad male on 401 approx .3 miles East of barn on S side of rd. In tall grass, Campsis w/ scattered small clumps of trees. Heavy spots on mantle, double bold white wingbars and scapular/ tertial edging. Gave many "growl" calls. Excellent photos by Jeff and Charlie!
3. 11/10/13- Bossier Parish. RRNWR Headquarters Unit. Heard Only, "growl" call. Undoubtedly 1 of same 3 found on 11/03/13. Chocolate trail West/central portion of trail. Single bird giving distinct growl-call from same area where 2 were found on W portion of Choc trail.
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):
1. 11/03/13- Bossier Par. RRNWR Headquarters Unit. Prob ad male- Largish sparrow/ towhee. Black above (fem or hy male observed during same time frame deep but noticeably warm, chocolate brownish above, also in head) with blackish heads and heavy dark, blackish bills. Whitish below with boldly contrasting, broad and sharply delineated area of orangeish-rufescent at sides of breast and flanks. Bold whitish wingbars with heavy rows of largish spotting entirely covering mantle and bold whitish tertial edgings. Very little white at base of primaries- only thin, apparent slivers edging feathers there, then thin sliver farther back in primaries at lower edge of folded wing.
2. 11/09/13- Red River parish. RRNWR, Bayou Pierre Unit, Yates Tract. Prob ad male. Only difference was the bird appeared to have slightly more whitish base to primaries than Bossier birds. Otherwise, heavy spotting on mantle and all calls were Spotted-type.
3. 11/10/13- Bossier Parish (undoubtedly 1 of same 3 from 11/03)
16. Voice: Very distinct mostly rising gruff growl- "GZHREEYAH" or shorter only ascending "GZHRAA" were only vocalizations heard from the birds on the separate dates.
17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): Eastern Towhee by calls, bold mantle spotting and double wingbar- also less noticeable whitish at bases of primary. I noticed a little more white at base of primaries with the Yates bird- but hard to tell.
18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Recordings by myself and photographs of others to be sent.
19. Previous experience with this species: Considerable but spotty over the years in N-w La.
20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):
a. at time of observation:
b. after observation:
21. This description is written from: __Yes___ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation (date:_____); _some____memory.
22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes
23. Date:12/21/2013__________Time:_04:35 a.m.______