Birdnet Hotline Highlights
December 2008

Review Species Reported This Month:
Cackling Goose  Cache Co.  Washington Co.
     Ruff  Davis Co.
     Lesser Black-backed Gull  Salt Lake Co.
     Western Gull  Salt Lake Co.
     Glaucouse-winged Gull  Washington Co.
     Brown-capped Rosy-Finch  San Juan Co.


Cindy Sommerfeld (21 Dec 2008) - They're back. Steve and I spent the day north west of Corrine. We were on 6800 North. (The road that you drive west on to get to Salt Creek.) There were hundreds of Horned Larks. Amongst them we found at least 5 Lapland Longspurs. It was a challenge because the flocks were jumpy.

Kris Purdy (3 Dec 2008) - Members of Wasatch Audubon saw some nice birds this morning at Willard Bay State Park in Box Elder County, including a White-winged Scoter. I forgot to ask the sex/age of the bird, but it was in the park's sewage treatment pond north of the park's entrance, along with eight or nine HOODED MERGANSERS.


Ryan P. O'Donnell (7 Dec 2008) - I birded a bit again this afternoon. I started at the Logan River Golf Course where I found the Cackling Goose, etc. yesterday. I believe there were at least four subspecies of white-cheeked geese here today: one Cackling (after further study today I'm leaning towards Richardson's), many Great Basin Canada Geese, at least two Lesser Canada Geese, and one Giant Canada Goose. The ROSS'S GOOSE and leucistic Canada Goose were also still present. I was joined at Sue's Ponds by Jason Pietrzak, where we found one female HOODED MERGANSER among the usuals. We also found our first AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS of the fall along the road on the way to Benson Marina.


Edson Leite (31 Dec 2008) - I took Beth and her family out today to get them new lifers. Our first stop was the city cemetery. Picked up the Pigmy Nuthatches around 330 n 900 e. At AIC the Ruffs were on the south side around mm 3.25 with western and least sandpiper, sanderling, killdeer. Garr ranch varied and hermit thrush.

Bob Bond (30 Dec 2008) - Yesterday afternoon we found a female Varied Thrush in the trees south of the spring at the Garr Ranch on Antelope Island. To my knowledge this is at least the second sighting of a Varied Thrush on the island.

Tim Avery (28 Dec 2008) - Thanks to Jack Binch for the email yesterday about the Ruff! Carl Ingwell and I ran up to the causeway this morning and right at MM4 there were 2 RUFF sitting on the north side of the causeway. Both birds decided to fly right as we got there, one headed east, while the other too the west. Over the next 2 hours we searched without any luck re finding the birds. Paul Higgins arrived during that time frame and found 4 Snow Bunting and shortly after a Lapland Longspur near MM2 on the north side of the causeway as well. Carl and also noted 3 Long-tailed Ducks at the bridge, as well as a bunch of Common Goldeneye, Green-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers. 8 or 9 Bald Eagle were seen, as well as several Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harrier and several hundred Horned Larks... Around 10:30am we ran into the Sommerfeld's and finally back near the 1st bridge, was Pomera Fronce and Kent Lewis who had just located one of the RUFF again. I called Paul who made his way down and we all got fantastic looks at the bird.

Jack Binch (27 Dec 2008) - ... I drove to Antelope Island Causeway. I saw a Ruff at milepost 4 on the north side and what appears to be another on the north side just south of the rusty culverts. A couple of Least Sandpipers near mile 4 and three Snow Buntings between the culverts and the weather station on the north side. A whole bunch of shovelers at the marina bridge and some goldeneyes and one female Long-tailed Duck.


Steve Hedges (9 Dec 2008) - I had an Inca Dove at my feeders today about 2 pm. Funny seeing one walking in the snow. This is only the second record for Iron County that I am aware of. The first record was from Parowan in August 1963 by Stewart Murie.


Tim Gorman  (27 Dec 2008) - 17 individuals spent a beautiful day afield on Sunday, December 14 participating in the Evanston Wyoming/Utah Christmas Bird Count. 51 species were found and total bird count was 3,542, both numbers being much higher than average. Highlights were a Vesper Sparrow, 9 Common Redpolls, 25 Pied-billed Grebes and 322 Greater Sage-Grouse. Noticeably absent were Downy Woodpeckers, Townsend Solitaire and owls.  The count center is where Rt 89 crosses the Wyoming/Utah border between Evanston Wyoming and Woodruff Utah. The Bear River runs down the middle of the count circle. The river and portions of the Woodruff Narrows Reservoir and Neponset Reservoir were open.


Donna Thorum (28 Dec 2008) - Yesterday I was doing my Project Feeder Watch count for Cornell University. It was a good day because we had so much snow the last two days. As I was checking trough the birds feeding on the ground, what to my wondering eyes should appear? A White-throated Sparrow! I stood up and Cheered! Wow! a new yard bird!

Tim Avery (27 Dec 2008) - The past two years the days following Christmas have been simply amazing at Lee Kay Ponds. With that in mind I was out in the freezing temps with my scope this morning scouring through a clump of 2500 birds on the west pond. And I was not disappointed: 1 Western Gull - adult could be the same bird again! 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1 ad. And 1 first winter 1 Glaucous Gull - 1st winter 2 Mew Gull - both adults 4 Thayer's Gull 70 Herring Gull 400~ Ring-billed Gull 2000 California Gull There was also one bird that could have been a first winter Western, that was probably a hybrid. It never stood up so I could could get a great look at it though. What appeared to be an adult Glaucous-winged X Herring Gull. It had strange primaries that were gray and black. I think next year we should have a weekend after Christmas gulling party at the ponds!

Tim Avery (24 Dec 2008) - This morning there were 2 Pygmy Nuthatches near the intersection of 330 North and 990 East in the cemetery. I imitated a pygmy-owl and was mobbed by these birds as well as Red-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain and Black-capped Chickadee, a tone of Pine Siskin, House Finches, several Cassin's Finch, Dark-eyed Junco and a lone Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Colby Newman (22 Dec 2008) - I did a quick trip into Grizzly Gulch near Alta (Little Cottonwood Canyon - Salt Lake Co.) yesterday afternoon, and I had a number of birds including several MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES. A couple of RED CROSSBILLS flew over as well. The most exciting observation was a flock of 19 White-winged Crossbills flying overhead. The flock headed over Twin Lakes Pass towards the Brighton area.

Tim Avery (21 Dec 2008) - Yesterday was the Salt Lake Christmas Bird Count. Colby Neuman, Carl Ingwell, Jeff Bilsky and I took on the Airport and the Bountiful Quadrants for the day. The count total for the entire CBC topped 100 species... Heading back to the International Center, Carl and I dropped Colby and Jeff off at another entrance to the duck club. They hiked in while we went out to cover some more ground. We also slipped away to Lee Kay Ponds for a minute to go through a flock of about 2,000 gulls on the ice. Despite being close to the road and there being a slit of open water, the only goodies we could find were 2 first winter Thayer's Gulls (including a very pale bird) and a few Herring Gull. At about the time we were going to leave the pond Colby called to inform us that they had come across a seep where they counted 11 Virginia Rails!!! But the real treat was a Swamp Sparrow! I can't beleive I traded Thayer's Gull for missing a new county bird.. Oh well.

Pomera Fronce (17 Dec 2008) - Roberta Wherritt and I located a lone Pygmy Nuthatch in the Salt Lake City Cemetery today at 1:30. It was located in the southwest quadrant from the intersection of 330 North and Cypress Avenue (1060 East). After getting a great look at the bird sitting out on the end of a branch in the sun, it flew and we were unable to locate it again.

Tim Avery (1 Dec 2008) - This afternoon I decided to spend my lunch time in Big Cottonwood Canyon... The best bird was a Northern Pygmy-Owl that was "singing" at the Ledgemere Picnic Area (the first picnic area on the right (south) side of the road heading up the canyon). At one point I thought there may have been two dueting, as I kept hearing what sounded like a 2nd bird further up the hill side. The river was just a tad to much noise to be sure.


Lu Giddings (30 Dec 2008) - Dennis Shirley and I just returned from a great trip to San Juan county and yesterday's Bluff Christmas Bird Count. I'm still in the process of compiling data so a full report will follow in a day or so. In the interim, the following observations were made:  - a pair of White-winged Doves was sighted near Cemetery Hill in Bluff yesterday. The birds were again located this morning and photographed. - a White-throated Sparrow was spotted yesterday at Jim Hook's feeders at Recapture Lodge in Bluff. The bird was again observed this morning.

(14 Dec 2008) A record was sent in to the records committee for a Brown-capped Rosy-Finch seen at a private residence, visiting feeders south of Moab. 


Lu Giddings (21 Dec 2008) - Early Friday afternoon a Western Kingbird was observed on private property about one mile north of the Spanish Fork airport. Unexpected as it was, I had pretty good looks at it for about 30-60 seconds in decent light at about 15 yards. It was perched on a wire with several house finches beside it. It was much larger than the house finches and - more or less - uniformly gray on top, with a creamy yellow belly and a black tail with very distinct white outers when it flew.

Tim Avery (7 Dec 2008) - [Snow Bunting] I decided I needed to finally head down and add this bird to my Utah County list. Sam and I drove out to Lincoln Point, and the bird was about 2/3 of the way down the south jetty in the middle of the road. It flew off to the north jetty when we got within about 75 feet...While we were there it spent a lot of time on the north side, and only flew back to the south side when a guy and his dog wandered out on the north side. It landed on a rock right in front of the car and I snapped a few shots. ..We finally took off and the bird was last seen perched on the large rock on the north jetty where it spent about 75% of the time.


Edson Leite (28 Dec 2008) - I did the Heber valley CBC and got a White-throated Sparrow at the wasatch state park bellow soldier hollow past the trail head near the dumpster.


Larry Tripp (28 Dec 2008) - Here are some of the highlights for me at the ST. George and the Silver Reef counts. I never went to either compilation tally so I'm sure there were other notable birds seen. Kevin Wheeler and I did the St. George count together and our best bird was a Green-tailed Towhee at a small park in Santa Clara. I never saw them but I did hear of photos of 2 Anna's and 1 Costa's Hummingbird that were at a feeder in Ivin's.  At the Silver Reef count yesterday Marshall Topen and I saw 3 Fox Sparrows a male Barrows Goldeneye and 4 species of Geese.

Rick Fridell (19 Dec 2008) - ...I just had to get out and look around a bit this morning (12/19). The first surprise was at Quail Creek State Park where there was a Cackling Goose with a small flock of Canada Geese. Also, even more surprising in St. George I saw a male Common Yellowthroat (at the Red Hills Golf Course Pond) and a Green-tailed Towhee. Winter yellowthroats turn up once every few years in the Virgin River Valley, but this is the first winter Green-tailed Towhee I've seen in Utah (although I think I recall Lu or maybe Dennis finding one in Utah Co. a few years back?). Also the Snow Goose flock, their White-fronted Goose friend, and the feral Egyptian Geese are still hanging around the SR-9 (Hurricane) Sewer Ponds, usually in the irrigated field south of the ponds. And finally, I saw the first-winter Glaucous-winged Gull and his possible Thayer's Gull buddy flying from Sand Hollow State Park and heading towards the Washington County Landfill (at least I assume that's where they were headed).

Paul Hicks (16 Dec 2008) - Utah birders, Tuesday morning I birded a few locales near St. George. In the melting snow at Tonaquint City Park ...Perhaps the most interesting bird was a Red-shouldered Hawk (imm?) perched in a prominent snag tree and flushed into a tree cluster across the river. ...early Monday I decided to give Lytle Ranch a try for some target species. ... Lots of sparrows around, including fair numbers of SAGE SPARROW and, perhaps more interesting, at least one Golden-Crowned Sparrow with WHITE-CROWNS (first bird that greeted me, well before parking lot/gate) ...

Rick Fridell (6 Dec 2008) - Finally, some interesting gulls in southern Utah!. Today (12/06) there was a first-winter Glaucous-winged Gull at Sand Hollow State Park, Washington Co. The gull spent it's time on the sandstone outcroppings, visible from the large main parking lot (but a scope is useful if it's on one of the more distance rocks). ...Other noteworthy birds at Sand Hollow today included two juvenile Tundra Swans, three Snow Geese, and the continuing female Surf Scoter. Also a lone Greater White-fronted Goose was with a feral Egyptian Goose at the SR-9(Hurricane) Sewer Ponds (southeast pond).