Birdnet Hotline Highlights
December 2006

Review Species Reported This Month:
Cackling Goose  Salt Lake Co.
Black Scoter  Kane Co.
White-tailed Kite  San Juan Co.
Iceland Gull  Salt Lake Co.
    Lesser Black-backed Gull  Cache Co.
    Glaucous-winged Gull  Cache Co.
Western Gull  Salt Lake Co.


Jim (26 Dec 2006) - Today at the Hyrum Dam there were two Long-tailed Ducks. They were near the restrooms at the East Beach.

Buck Russell (26 Dec 2006) - This morning my wife and I found a male Varied Thrush in Mack Park, Smithfield, UT. The bird was about 20 feet east of the bridge at the entrance to the nature trail.

Keith Archibald (17 Dec 2006) - Cache Valley had an enjoyable and interesting count yesterday. Our goal for years has been to get to 100 species, but again it was not to be. ...We found 96 species. Highlights were 6 Gulls, 7 Owls. I’ll let you ponder which species. Other hot items were Great Egret, American White Pelican, Varied Thrush, and Vesper Sparrow.

Keith Archibald (8 Dec 2006) - We had some great gulling at the Logan landfill today. We had a Glaucous, Glaucous-winged, and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. All three were first winter.... For the last two days we’ve had a Great Egret hanging around the same area on warm water springs. Last I checked it was December in frigid Cache Valley.

Buck Russell (2 Dec 2006) - This morning I visited the Hyrum Reservoir on the east end (Dave’s Point) and found a female Long-tailed Duck. Probably one of the same Long-tailed Ducks that Sue Drown reported last weekend...


Jack Binch (31 Dec 2006) - On Antelope Island Causeway between mile 1.2 and 1.7, I saw some Snow Buntings. First were three on the south side at about the 50 MPH sign. They were loosely associated with some American Pipits. I say loosely because they were 75 to 100 feet away from them, but flew when the flock of pipits flew... I saw two at 1.7 on the north side in the heavy weeds then two on the rocks at 1.2. I saw these two again a little later in about the same location. I am not sure if any of the pairs were the first ones I saw or not. Time was about 3 PM to 4 PM.

Tim Avery (23 Dec 2006) - I hit the Bountiful Landfill this afternoon and spent about and hour and a half picking through the gulls. I was surprised at the apparent lack of any Glacuous-type gulls, but pleasantly surprised at the number of Thayer's Gulls. In all I believe there were 7 THGU, including 6 adults and 1 first winter bird. After hitting the dump I ran over to Farmington Bay and ran into the Summerfeld's as they were leaving. They told me they had seen a Greater Scaup, Great Egret and Red-breasted Merganser. All three birds were pretty easy to find. ...The scaup and egret were at the 2nd bridge where the boats launch in the canal.

Jack Binch (23 Dec 2006) - One the causeway today I saw: ...Barrow's Goldeneye... Marina Bridge - Horned Grebe - Surf Scoter...

Kristin Purdy (15 Dec 2006) - I think I hit a motherlode of sparrows in South Weber, Davis County this morning while scouting my sector for tomorrow's Ogden Christmas Bird Count. The goodies included a Harris's Sparrow, a White-throated Sparrow (tan-striped) and three American Tree Sparrows. Many White-crowned were present of course, but I was also impressed by the number of Song Sparrows in a small area--perhaps 6-8. Too bad the predominant species was the House Sparrow; they did make sifting through the other birds difficult. ...The area is an undeveloped subdivision under the BIG powerline that cuts across South Weber from the golf ball radar on Hill Air Force Base on the south side to exit 85 of I-84 on the north side.

Ned Bixler (3 Dec 2006) - Today next to the causeway at Antelope Island were the following: two Long-tailed Ducks, two White-winged Scoters, one Surf Scoter, and numerous Least Sandpipers, and one Marbled Godwit.

birds2bikes (3 Dec 2006) - We decided to go to AI for the scooters and oldsquaw that was seen there earlier. We arrived around 8:00 am. It was frigidly cold but well worth the visit. We saw a Pectoral Sandpiper with some least sandpipers. Observed 4 gulls species; a Bonaparte's gull, Thayer's gulls, as well as the California and yellow billed gulls. We also observed three Surf Scoters and two White-winged Scooters around the marina (and in the marina). The female Oldsquaw was at the bridge as reported earlier with the common golden eyes, buffleheads, and ruddy ducks. We also went to the ranch. It was pretty quite, but our efforts were rewarded with a Northern Shrike harassing the local flickers...

Glenn Barlow (2 Dec 2006) - ...went to the [Antelope Island] causeway... At the bridge closest to the island there were Common Goldeneye present on both sides. On the south side, with a small flock, was a female Surf Scoter.


Dennis Shirley (22 Dec 2006) - I got a call from Lou Giddings last night who is birding in San Juan County for a few days. He wanted me to pass along a sighting of a Black Scoter at the Bullfrog/Hite ferry crossing on Lake Powell. It is a female and was at the Bullfrog ramp on Thursday afternoon.


Kris Purdy (25 Dec 2006) - I saw a Blue Jay at about 4:15 this afternoon in East Canyon, Morgan County, below SR-66 at mile 3.1. The spot on the road is marked by the only power pole in East Canyon with a raptor perch that extends above the top of the pole... The Blue Jay was hanging out with a gang of 4-5 Steller's Jays. They seemed like a bunch of delinquents looking for trouble. They were filtering through the trees at the dam end of a pasture below the road.


Joseph (20 Dec 2006) - Since a year ago when I heard that Eurasian Collared-Doves are immigrating to Utah I have been scoping out every dove that I see in hopes of finding one with a banded neck.  But alas, they have all been mourning doves...Then today I saw a couple doves sitting in a  tree, and just knew that they had to be Eurasians...So I asked the driver to go back. And sure enough, there were a dozen Eurasian Collared-Doves sitting in cottonwood trees, just across the street slightly north west of the motel in Randolf Utah. And then... 20 miles away in Evanston Wyoming,  just north of the County Road bridge over the Bear River were another two dozen Eurasian Collared-Doves.


Tim Avery (31 Dec 2006) - I headed out to do a survey in northwestern Salt Lake County on private property... A flyover Cackling Goose with a flock of Canada Geese was the highlight of the morning:

Tim Avery (29 Dec 2006) - Alright to spare myself angry emails later I will post this right now as a precautionary measure. This afternoon while sharing my pictures of what was a presumed pale 1st winter Thayer's Gull photographed at Lee Kay on the 27th, several expert "gullers" believed the images depicted a Kumlien's Gull. ......... The ID frontiers list has been lighting up with responses to the pictures I have posted. Many viewers believe this bird is inside the normal range for a Kumlien's type Iceland Gull (not currently on the Utah list).  However, others insist that it is within the range for Thayer's Gull.  And yet other insist that this is likely an integrade and who knows???  For anyone out looking for the Western Gull this weekend, keep your eyes peeled for this very light gull.  It basically looks like a tiny 1st winter Glaucous Gull, but with an all dark bill.  If you have a camera try to get pictures of the tail and any open wing shots in flight would be nice.  I will hopefully make it out in the afternoon.  Comments and pictures of this gull can be viewed here:

Colby Neuman (28 Dec 2006) - Tim Avery just called me to say that Jack Binch and himself have refound the probable Western Gull on the west pond of Lee Kay Ponds. I'm headed down there now.  So far, the few west coasters that have responded have been in favor of the bird likely being a 'pure' (I say that because we will never really know) Western Gull.

Tim Avery (27 Dec 2006) - Thanks to Glenn Barlow for posting the sighting of the possible Western Gull at Lee Kay Ponds this afternoon. Colby and I found the bird and spent some time photographing and studying it before Larene Wyss, Glenn Barlow, and Pomera Fronce arrived to view the bird. At around 4:15 pm the bird headed N-NW over the dump with 1,000's of other gulls to roost for the night. We suspect it will likely return tomorrow as this is where the gulls tend to congregate during the day.

Bob Huntington (25 Dec 2006) - Yesterday (Sat.) I was sitting in my kitchen drinking my first cup of coffee (not fully awake yet). I was watching the birds at my feeders when I noticed a pretty white-crowned sparrow. After the second cup of coffee ( awake now ) I looked closer at the sparrow. Sure enough it was a White-throated Sparrow.

David Wheeler (16 Dec 2006) - Today during the SLC CBC Larene Wyss, Doug Stark, and I found three Winter Wrens in City Creek Canyon. The first was just a few hundred feet up from the gate, the second was just below the Elbow Turn picnic area, and the third way up above the water plant up in a conifer below Area 20 (or was it 22?--oops). The road is plowed to the Rotary Club monument. We think there may have been a Pygmy owl getting mobbed by chickadees near the plant, but didn't get a good enough look to be sure.

pdggray (6 Dec 2006) - A group from GSL Audubon were surprised and thrilled to see a female Long-tailed Duck on Mountain Dell Reservoir this morning. Most of the reservoir was frozen so it was pretty quiet but at the very west end there was some open water. This is where we found the Long-tailed Duck along with Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneye, American Wigeon and Bufflehead.


Mike Moore - Gilbert, AZ (30 Dec 2006) - I am an Arizona birder. I was driving through Utah on my way back from Colorado. While driving on 191 today just a few miles south of Blanding, my youngest daughter (Kelly Moore) spotted a perched White-tailed Kite in a tree to the west of the highway. We stopped and admired it through binoculars but it was not until I got home and checked the range maps that I realized this might be a significant sighting. If it is, I am reporting it in the hopes someone can confirm it (sorry, I should have made more specific note of where it was but I did not). I would appreciate it if someone could let me know what he status of white-tailed kite in Utah is. Thanks.


Tim Avery (30 Dec 2006) - This morning while helping out on the Tooele CBC I had some interesting sightings. ...a Northern Shrike... and the other prize of the morning, a Snow Bunting...The bunting was with a flock of about 80 Horned Larks and was initially seen flying....


Ned Bixler (27 Dec 2006) - While hiking the Provo River Trail, near Canyon Glen today, I saw a Winter Wren. A very friendly bird. It would fly out, and sit in the open for you to observe.

Lu Giddings (9Dec 2006) - I spent a few hours this morning checking out the south end of Utah county. Noteworthy birds include: - a Northern Shrike at Swede's Lane, - a pair of Great Egrets in the sloughs immediately west of I-15 and between the two Springville exits...  I should also note that I observed 23 Eurasian-collared Doves in a tree in Benjamin.


Kevin Wheeler (26 Dec 2006) - If you didn't participate in the St. George CBC today, you missed out... Good birds reported included two Ross's Goose (Springs Park and St. George Golf Club Pond), five Wood Ducks (a pair was on the St. George Golf Club Pond, others were in the north end of Bloomington). Two Peregrine Falcons (Washington Area), 7 Vermilion Flycatchers (one near Riverside drive, others in Bloomington). Of particular note is that the hundreds of crows that were here a month ago have disappeared - only seven were counted. Eurasian Collared-Doves are plentiful now - 445 counted. And the species on the count with the highest numbers - no, not European Starlings, House Sparrows, or even White-crowned Sparrows - American Coots - 2,266 total.

Kevin Wheeler (17 Dec 2006) - The Zion Christmas Bird Count on Friday was great. The total number of species was about 90, probably a high for the history of this count. One highlight was a Varied Thrush observed at Springdale Pond at approximately 11:30 by myself and Aaron Keller. It perched up on a Russian olive briefly and allowed a good, if brief view. I went to grab my camera, but the bird had flown by the time I got back. We could not relocate the bird then or when we re-visited the area about 3:30, but there are a lot of American Robins in the area, and I imagine that he was associating with them.

Keith Davis (7 Dec 2006) - The Vermilion Flycatcher is still in my back yard.... 3 weeks now. I hope it stays till the Winter Bird Festival... . I live in Bloomington Ranches, but sometimes I think it is paradise.

Larry Tripp ( 3 Dec 2006) - Today along the Santa Clara river at the south end of Gunlock in Washington Co. I saw a White-throated Sparrow in with a large flock of Sparrows, Junco's and Am. Goldfinches.

Rick Fridell (3 Dec 2006) - A quick update to let you all know that the road up to Kolob Reservoir is still open. Despite the cold weather there are still a few California Condors hanging around the area...We also saw a flock of Acorn Woodpeckers along the road exactly one mile north of the Kolob Ck. crossing and one mile south of the reservoir. At this location, there is an old corral in an aspen grove west of the road and several oaks on the slope east of the road. I counted at least five Acorn Woodpeckers, but there could have been more. There were also several Lewis's Woodpeckers in the mixed woodpecker flock. Lewis's Woodpeckers were also observed at several other locations along the road between Lava Point and the reservoir.