• Northern Wheatear

    Common NameNorthern Wheatear
    Scientific NameOenanthe oenanthe
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation09/16/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameJim Mead
    Mailing Address798 Metcalf Drive
    Williston, Vermont 05495
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed12/26/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    Bill & Mae Mayville email:

    Latitude of Observation43º00'42.0"N
    Longitude of Observation73º11'22.4"W
    Place NameOld Depot Road
    TownshipShaftsbury, VT
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day09:17 AM
    Length of Time Observed18 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)200'
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)20'
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    We were there quite early but had to wait over 2 hours for the fog to lift. Once that happened the weather was beautiful with little wind and sunny.

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Kowa TSN-884 Prominar 20-60 power lens scope & Zeiss 8x42FL T* bins

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    I saw an adult male on May 24, 2014 in the VA Medical Center parking lot, in White River Junction, VT.

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Open field with shrubbery habitat between field and road. That area was where the bird was observed. It was not associating with any other birds.

    Behaviors Observed

    I saw it fly along the open field, then onto a fence post. It was not feeding. It did fly to a different fence post a couple of times.

    Description of Vocalizations

    None heard.

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    I saw the bird fly in the open from my left to the right. I was above it and then it flew out of my view. It was then located by other birders that we there, when they found it on a fence post.

    Relative Size & Shape

    It was somewhere near the size, shape and structure of an Eastern Bluebird.


    The crown was light brownish & showed a bit of gray on the fore crown. It had a black eye and eye-line between the eye and bill. The auriculars were light black. The nape was brownish gray and the throat was sort of cinnamon colored. There was a white area/line above and below the black eye-line. The upper one extended behind the eye and over the auriculars.

    Feet & Bill

    The legs and feet were darkish gray and the bill was all black, came to a sharp point and was thin.

    Upper Back

    The upper back was grayish to light brownish.

    Lower Back & Rump

    The lower back and rump were also grayish to light brownish.


    The unmarked wings were quite broad with a straight leading edge and a rather rounded trailing edge and were dark above and below.

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    The breast was cinnamon colored and the belly & flanks were light tan colored. The under tail coverts were white.


    The tail was quite wide and short. It was white except for a conspicuous inverted black T at the tip. A very striking and easy to see (while in flight), field mark.

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

    The nearest species to compare this bird to would be a Bluethroat in terms of size and shape. However those are the only two points of similarity because the overall coloration between the two are completely different. I would also rule out an Eastern Bluebird because of overall coloration, wing shape and obvious tail shape and length differences.

    Other Notes & Comments

    Yes, this was a fall adult male transitioning from alternate plumage to basic plumage.

    I also used my attached photos to assist with the details of this report.

    This report was written from notes taken:Written from Memory

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