Re: Tanager on SBMNH property this morning

Florence Sanchez

I'm glad Rebecca found this bird.  her vantage point was better than ours as she got both a straight-on back view and a front view.  Our looks were all in profile or near profile, or in flight, so we never got the whole chest or whole back.  Her perception of the face color was the same as ours.  We also agree that the bill wasn't long enough for Summer Tanager, though it's stlil a heavy bill.  To me, it had a sort of "Roman nose" appearance in that the upper mandible is very thick near the nostril.

Florence Sanchez

From: Rebecca Coulter <>
To: Sbcobirding <>
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: [sbcobirding] Tanager on SBMNH property this morning

I did see the bird briefly around 10:30 but was unable to post until now. (Several birders tried to re-find it after 5PM but no joy.) In the same location that Florence and Tom had it, on the creek bank just west of the manhole cover in the trail, I saw it fly into a sycamore, landing about 15 feet off the ground. It sat very still, back facing me. No vocalization.  What I observed was similar to Florence's description, though I also noticed reddish color on the uppertail coverts, a pale reddish wash on the breast when it briefly turned toward me, and some gray wash along the flanks. I also did not notice any gray in the cheek--it seemed to be more overall tan-olive about the face. The bill was dark, smaller than what I've observed in Summer Tanager. No mottled appearance on this bird--the overall body color was uniform.  I sure would like a better look!

Rebecca Coulter
Santa Barbara

On Aug 29, 2012, at 11:06 AM, Florence Sanchez wrote:

Tom and I located an apparent Hepatic Tanager on the Museum of Natural History Property this morning.  I'm not sure if this is the same bird reported about a week ago.  That bird was described as redder than we could discern.  The location was downcreek of the Museum's "back yard" area near where there is a large manhole in the middle of the path that runs next to the creek.  (Also about 50-70 yards upcreek from the back entrance to the museum property.)

This bird was easy to observe in profile but it was hard to pick up the color because most of the time it was backlit.  Our impression was of a bird with an overall warm reddish tan color, darker wings and a reddish tail.  We could not pick up a definite cheek patch, but that was in part because of lighting.  The bill was unmistakeably heavy and dark.  We alerted Rebecca Coulter who was on duty at the Butterfly pavillion but hoped to get away to see if she could refind it.  The bird is moderately active but sits for several minutes at a time between forays.

Also present along the creek were a male Black-throated Gray Warbler, Female Yellow Warbler, Male Wilson's Warbler, and a calling Pacific Slope Flycatcher.

Florence and Tom Sanchez

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