• Townsend's Solitaire

    Common NameTownsend's Solitaire
    Scientific NameMyadestes townsendi
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation12/19/2016
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameLaura Gaudette
    Mailing AddressPO Box 597
    255 Westminster Rd.
    Putney, VT 05346
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed02/13/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    JOANNE RUSSO () Saxtons River , VT
    JAMES P. SMITH () Gill, MA
    SUZANNE HELLER () Putney, VT

    Latitude of Observation43.0656296242
    Longitude of Observation-72.5412581116
    Place NameWestminster West
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day11:20 AM
    Length of Time Observed2 minutes, maximum. Likely about 1 1/2 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)25
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)10
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Sunny, no wind; 19 degrees F

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    CAMERA: Canon 7D; 400 mm lens. BINOCULARS: Nikon Monarch 7, 8x42; Leica Trinovid 8x42; Zeiss Terra ED 8x42

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    L. Gaudette: VT & WA; J. RUSSO: VT & NH; JP SMITH (Birdfinders tour guide) annual and extensive throughout western US: Alaska south to Arizona; most recently CA (Sept 2016), AZ (Aug 2016)

    Description of Habitat

    The village of Westminster West is thickly settled with houses closely spaced and numerous ornamental plantings. Several homes have feeding stations. Generally, traffic flow is light.

    Behaviors Observed

    The Solitaire flew from perch where first observed, alighted briefly in a tree across the road and then flew from view. No feeding or displays noted.

    Description of Vocalizations

    No vocalizations noted

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    On foot in the village of Westminster West (Windham Co.), our CBC team encountered a large group of Evening Grosbeaks. While my companions counted and photographed them, I turned to scan behind us for other birds.

    Without binoculars, I spotted a gray bird facing me breast/belly on sitting about 7 feet up in a leafless alder shrub about 30 feet away. My first thought was a female EVGR because of the general size, gray breast, and the number of grosbeaks in the area. But as I lifted my binoculars to the bird, it shifted position and I could see it’s shape was long and slender with no large bill; I had a fleeting thought of Northern Mockingbird. But, when I put my binoculars to the bird I noticed first a small, dark, straight bill, and next a distinct white eye ring. I then alerted my companions to have a look. The bird soon flew across the road alighting in a Weeping Beech just long enough for everyone to have a good look and a few documentation photos. The Solitaire flew again and was not relocated.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Size similar to the numerous Evening Grosbeaks in the vicinity, but more slender and elongated.


    Gray overall, except white eye ring.

    Feet & Bill

    Bill short, conical and dark. Feet not noticed.

    Upper Back

    Not noted specifically [while bird was in flight away from me, I did not observe with binoculars so I could keep track of it’s location]

    Lower Back & Rump

    Not noted specifically [while bird was in flight away from me, I did not observe with binoculars so I could keep track of it’s location]


    Not noted specifically [while bird was in flight away from me, I did not observe with binoculars so I could keep track of it’s location]

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    Breast and belly gray. Under tail not noted at the time.


    Relatively long tail; shape and markings not noticed specifically at the time.

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    Northern Mockingbird

    Other Notes & Comments

    Not a juvenile; Age or sex not otherwise determined.

    This report was written from memory & notes based on conversations during and immediately following observation. ID was based on observers familiarity with species, no field guides were consulted.

    Attempts to subsequently relocate the bird later the same day and in the days and weeks following the initial observation were unsuccessful.

    This report was written from notes taken:Immediately After

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