Review Species Reported This Month:
Cackling Goose Cache Co.
Salt Lake Co. Washington
Ruff Davis Co.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull Washington
Rusty Blackbird Juab Co.
Streak-backed Oriole Kane Co.
Ryan P. O'Donnell (11 Jan 2009) - Craig Fosdick and I struck out on
relocating the Harris's Sparrow we found yesterday, but a Mew Gull is
back at the Logan Fish Hatchery. This may be the same bird that was first
spotted there in February of 2008. The bird seen last winter was a first-winter
bird, and the one seen today was a second-winter bird. Most of the ~80 gulls
there were Ring-billed, but there was also one California Gull and one Herring
Gull present. At the Logan River Golf Course, the Greater Scaup and Hooded
Merganser seen yesterday could not be relocated, but I did see one Taverner's
Cackling Goose among about 150 Canada Geese.
Ryan P. O'Donnell (10 Jan 2009) - I had a great day of birding around Cache
County today with Stephanie Cobbold and Craig Fosdick. ...The birding picked up
speed in Trenton, where we found one Harris's Sparrow among
White-crowned, Song, and American Tree Sparrows, with one Marsh Wren. The look
was dissatisfyingly brief so Craig and I will be returning tomorrow to try to
get a photograph. Just a half-mile or so down the road we found an adult
Joel and Kathy Beyer (31 Jan 2009) - This afternoon at Farmington Bay
WMA (Davis Co.) we found an adult Mew Gull near the second bridge on the
west dike road. Also in this area were a dozen Least Sandpipers, 10 Lesser
Yellowlegs and several American Avocets. The Mew Gull was species #101 seen by
us this January in Davis County.
Paul Higgins (25 Jan 2009) - The very beautiful female Varied Thrush
is still at Fielding Garr Ranch, south of the spring.
Carol Gwynn (10 Jan 2009) - I birded the Antelope Island Causeway, and nearly
all of the rarities had gone elsewhere. The 3 Long-tailed Ducks were
still at the bridge closest to the island on the north side. A passing Peregrine
got the hundreds of Shovelers all excited. ...
Jeff Bilsky (6 Jan 2009) - Just spoke to Carl Ingwell who had a flock of 7
Snow Buntings on the Antelope Island causeway just past MM2. There were also
two Lapland Longspurs in a flock of Horned Larks near the entrance gate.
Brian Currie (3 Jan 2009) - I birded AIC from about 12:45 to 4:15 today. ...Ruff
(between mm 2 and 3)... Snow Buntings (2 - between mm 1 and 2, about
3/10s of a mile from mm 2 going towards mm 1) ...Long-tailed Duck (drake
and hen at the bridge)....
Stephen T Carlile (3 Jan 2009) - Made a quick trip to Antelope Island today
to see if I could get the Varied Thrush. A lifer for me as was the Ruff last
week. Didn't get there until 2:00, so I had to hustle. The road to Garr Ranch
was snow packed, but safe at a reasonable speed. It was cold but beautiful.
After about 45 minutes at Garr Ranch found the Varied Thrush on the
southern edge of the "woodlot". I found the Varied Thrush by first seeing a
"surprise" Hermit Thrush and then noticing movement on the ground below. There
was the Varied Thrush pecking at something. One thing can lead to another. Once
found the Varied Thrush was very cooperative. Also saw a very noisy and visible
Virginia Rail at the east end of the spring. (I need to get a camera.) On the
way back found a Northern Shrike. Saw the Ruff both coming and
going, in the same area already noted by Deedee. This is the fourth time seeing
the Ruff for me and every time it has been in the same general area, mixed in
with Killdeer; so check out the Killdeer. Today's Ruff siting was 4.6 miles west
of the AI Causeway entrance fee station.
Tom Fletcher (1 Jan 2009) - I went to Antelope Island today to see the
Ruff (and Varied Thrush). In addition to these great birds and many
more, there was a Northern Shrike (a juvenile, I believe) on the east
side of the road not far from Garr Ranch. I hope that one of the folks that was
there for the count saw it also.
Dave Hanscom (17 Jan 2009) - Rusty Blackbird still at Fish Springs...
The blackbird was in his usual location again today. Thanks to Pat Jividen for
directions. Although a noisy group of birders had scared him off just before we
arrived, he returned soon after they left. We parked a ways down the road to
give him some space, and he was soon back feeding along the edge of the canal.
Pat Jividen (14 Jan 2009) - Rusty Blackbird... I went out to fish
springs again today with Steve Carr. We saw the bird again within 15 feet of
where we saw it Monday. If you go out to see it check in with either Jay or
Robert and they'll show you on a map the place to bird.
Colby Neuman (14 Jan 2009) - My dad and I made a quick trip to Fish Springs
NWR today...highlights are below... American Bittern 1 - flushed by north
spring ...Great Egret 2 - 1 feeding in avocet and 1 in egret ...Rusty
Blackbird 1 - seen in housing area and later along the collection ditch...
Terry and Pam Sadler (8 Jan 2009) - On The Fish Springs CBC we sighted a bird
in the springs area of the refuge that stumped us. The bird was in the foggy
mist and most difficult to identify. We thought the bird might possibly be a
female Rusty Blackbird but our view was so poor we couldn't rule out
female Cowbird, or a variant male Brewer's Blackbird. We couldn't tell for sure
if it had a yellow eye. The bird flew before we were able to get better looks at
it or photograph it. Refuge Manager, Jay Banta, relocated the bird yesterday
afternoon and this morning was able to get a better look at the bird. He
believes it may be a female Rusty Blackbird with a yellow eye and some rusty
wash in the body with a light eyebrow and throat. The bird his staying fairly
close to the area where it was first sighted.
Lu Giddings (10 Jan 2009) - I just arrived home from my southern swing a few
hours ago. Based on encouraging notes from Kris Purdy and Chuck Larue, I finally
did something I should have done yesterday morning: break out my field guides.
Upon review of my field notes I'm quite certain that the bird was definitely
*not* a Bullock's oriole. I believe there is a very good possibility that the
bird may have been a Streak-backed Oriole. My first impulse when I
saw the bird was that it was a hooded oriole, as the head was very clearly and
completely a brilliant orange in the overhead sunlight. There was no black cap
and no black eye line. The belly was completely orange. The underwings appeared
dark, but I didn't see them clearly. It had a slight black bib, more like the
bib of a Bullock's oriole than the larger (in relative terms) bib of a hooded
oriole. I was never in a position to see its back and I was not able to focus on
its upper wings or bill. I did not hear the bird call.
Lu Giddings (8 Jan 2009) - At about 11 a.m. this morning an adult male
oriole [see above Jan 10 post] was seen flying from the vicinity of Southwest
Applied Technology College in Kanab west across the road, just south of Kanab
Middle School, and toward Kanab Creek. I had excellent looks at the bird in
bright sunlight. I spotted the bird in the air as I drove south toward it. I
watched it for 5-6 seconds. At it closest it passed within about 50 feet. I did
not have time to attempt to relocate the bird after it disappeared into the
Kanab Creek gulch.
SALT LAKE COUNTY
Geoff Hardies (24 Jan 2009) - The Winter Wren is still in City Creek
Canyon. we found it today above picnic area number 6. Not much for activity
there today with the only other sightings being an American Dipper and a Belted
Tim Avery (10 Jan 2009) - This morning I led a hardy group of 5 out on a
freezing field trip around Salt Lake County. We birded Lee Kay Ponds, Lake Park,
Decker Lake, and the Jordan River. The goal was gulls, and for the most part we
missed out on many of the species that had been seen in the past weeks. We of
course had plenty of California and Ring-billed Gulls at pretty much all our
stops. In all we might have had 6 or 7 Herring Gulls between Lee Kay and Decker
Lake. Only 2 Thayer's Gulls (1-1W & 1-2W) at Decker Lake, and one gull
that I figure had to be hyrbid. It was larger than Herring Gulls nearby and had
a honking big bill. The iris wasn't yellow, but a light brown and still kind of
pale. I thought it might have been a Glaucous-winged X Herring Hyrbid, but
couldn't be sure. ... At Lake Park where previously reported was a Greater
Carl Ingwell (8 Jan 2009) - ...I drove over to Lake Park. Immediately after
turning into Lake Park, I saw a Greater White-fronted Goose feeding with
the Canada. There was a huge amount of Geese hanging around.
Colby Neuman (7 Jan 2009) - Numbers and diversity of bird species seem
to be up from last winter. On Monday, I was in Mill D North (Big Cottonwood
Canyon - Salt Lake Co.) and had a flock of 50 PINE SISKIN, MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES,
HAIRY WOODPECKER, several PINE GROSBEAKS in the aspens and 3 flyover
White-winged Crossbills (betweeen Tom's Hill and Reynold's Peak). Three
RUFFED GROUSE that were buried in the snow flushed from ~5 ft away...giving me
the usual near heart attack. - Yesterday I went up Grizzly
Gulch (near Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon - Salt Lake Co.) to Twin Lakes Pass
and I came across a flock of ~50 crossbills that allowed me to get within 10-20
feet of them as they frantically fed. There were approximately 3 RED CROSSBILLS
for every White-winged Crossbill in the flock.
Stephen T Carlile (1 Jan 2009) - ...but did visit Parkway Business Park
located at Parkway Blvd. (2650 S.)/Bangerter Highway. Also visited Decker Lake.
Saw 29 species, with the highlight being five Cackling Geese along the
Parkway canal and two at Decker Lake. All very close and lengthy observations,
with great comparisons to the Canada Geese. Though I have not had any real
experience with Cackling subspecies, I will take a crack at it. One at Parkway
was very small and dark, with a creamy (not white) cheek patch; B. h. minima,
"Cackling"?. One of the others had the "white neck ring" mentioned in the
guides common to B. h. leucopariea, "Aleutian", sometimes present the
other subspecies; B. h. hutchinsii, "Richardson's". The "white neck
ring" bird was about two thirds the size of the Canada Geese. The others were
Cackling, but who knows where they fit or if I am right about the others.
Glenda Cotter (2 Feb 2008) - I also saw and photographed Shelly Spencer's
Rusty Blackbird in Francis on Saturday [1/31] , though it's a very distant
and not terribly helpful photo. And like Gary Nunn I concluded I was seeing a
lone and slightly oddly-plumaged Brewer's Blackbird, though Rusty Blackbird got
a fair amount of consideration before I dismissed it. Cool to see such excellent
documentation! Thanks, Shelly.
Gary Nunn - La Jolla CA - (27 Jan 2009) - Just in Salt Lake City for a
couple of days and thought I would take a look along Lower River Road near
Francis for grosbeaks and waxwings, wow what a great place for some of my
favorite birds. Immediately after turning south off Rt. 32 on Lower
River Road chanced on Northern Shrike sitting out in the first large
meadow on the right atop dead tree! Views further back to the trees lining the
river revealed several Bald Eagles (2 adult and an immature). About 1.2 miles
going south down Lower River Road encountered spectacular 200+ group Evening
Grosbeak taking chokecherry bushes to pieces, at close quarters the
crackling sound of kernels being worked over was astonishing! More grosbeaks
arrived, I would say 300-400 total working two main areas of heavy crop cherry
along the road. Wish I had a camera, tightly packed grosbeaks in the snow
encrusted bushes with sun coming on to them was a fantastic sight... Numerous
small groups of Cedar Waxwing (60-80 total) also feeding on chokecherry and
perched around in leafless aspens. After about an hour I heard the unmistakable
calling of Bohemian Waxwing! Last time I heard those was 20 years ago in
England! Located a single bird atop aspen tree, dark undertail coverts, white
wing markings, lower pitched and richer "preet" rolling trill was easy to pick
out among shrill Cedar Waxwings. Two more called back from trees nearby and
eventually the three birds gave me a flyover together. ...Many thanks to Tom
Fletcher for original posting and responding to my enquiry.
Tom Fletcher (25 Jan 2009) - I braved the snow this morning to go look for
the Evening Grosbeaks near Francis. There was an amazing flock of 300+ Evening
Grosbeaks on the Lower River Rd. Amongst them, I counted 20 Bohemian Waxwings
(but there were probably more). The Bohemians seemed to outnumber the Cedars in
Bryan Shirley (29 Jan 2009) - Today there was a Turkey Vulture in Spring
Lake along the hwy perched in a dead snag. He actually seemed to be enjoying
himself - just sitting with wings spread trying to soak up
some rays. I was very surprised to see him, but not sure if there are other
winter records for central utah.
Ned Bixler (7 Jan 2009) - Today on the Provo River Trail, I found a Winter
Wren. It was near Canyon Glen Park.
Rick Fridell (29 Jan 2009) - I've had a couple inquiries from folks coming for
the St. George Winter Bird Festival on finding Anna's Hummingbird, so I thought
I'd post for any others who might be interested. Currently there is a male
Anna's Hummingbird in the vicinity of the Red Cliffs Recreation Area
Campground (accessed via Harrisburg). Despite the cold (I know Salt Lakers, it's
relative!), the hummingbird is rather active and moves around the area. It's
often observed zipping around, or perched and singing south of the loop road or
along the first 50 meters or so of the trail up canyon.
Rick Fridell (25 Jan 2009) - There is currently a very large flock of (mostly)
Canada Geese using the Springs Estate Park, in St. George, Washington Co. Among
the several hundred geese are usually 3-4 Snow Geese, a Ross' Goose, and 5 or 6
Cackling Geese. The geese move around rather frequently, using the Virgin
River and the Washington Fields, but there usually spend much of their time at
the pond. This is an great opportunity to study the differences between the
'white-cheeked geese' and their subspecies. ... I believe there are both
hutchinsii (Richardson's Goose) and taverni (Taverner's Goose) Cackling Geese
present, but would certainly like to hear the opinions of others. Other
noteworthy waterfowl around the county include five Wood Ducks at Tonaquint Park
(that are becoming more tame by the day), a family group of Tundra Swans at
Ivins Reservoir, and the remaining Tundra and Trumpeter Swans at Sand
Hollow State Park. Let me know if I can provide any additional details for those
planning on attending the Winter Bird Festival this weekend.
Rick Fridell (25 Jan 2009) - I wanted to let everyone know the juvenile
Red-shouldered Hawk, first observed December 15th by Paul Hicks of
Washington State, is still around. The hawk frequents the fields across the
Santa Clara River from Tonaquint Park in St. George (Washington Co.). It
occasionally perches one of the few trees remaining along the river, or more
commonly on an irrigation wheel in one of the fields.
Rick Fridell (17 Jan 2009) - The flock of swans are remaining at Sand Hollow
State Park (Washington Co.). The group includes three Trumpeter Swans and
seven Tundra Swans. There is one adult Trumpeter Swan and two juveniles. You can
differentiate them from a long distance as the juvenile Trumpeter Swans are much
darker than the juvenile Tundra Swans present (and a bit larger).
...Unfortunately the first-winter Glaucous-winged Gull that was present
since early December has died and its body is laying on one of the sandstone
outcrops off the main parking lot.
Rick Fridell (3 Jan 2009) - ...impressed with the gull activity at Stratton Pond
(Ring-bills and a first-year Herring), I decided to also visit Quail Creek and
Sand Hollow State Parks. It's very cold and windy, so the lakes are choppy and I
didn't spend any time scanning for ducks and loons. I was amazed however, to
find SIX species of gulls at Sand Hollow State Park. I've gone some years in
Washington County with only five species! The most impressive was my first
Washington County Lesser Black-backed Gull, a third-winter bird perched
on the emergent sandstone outcroppings below the main parking lot. It was with
the continuing first-winter Glaucous-winged Gull and a large flock of
Ring-billed Gulls. Also present among the hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls were a
handful of adult California Gulls, 6 Bonaparte's Gulls, and a third-year Herring
Gull. I managed to get some long distance photos of the Lesser Black-backed Gull
for documentation. Also, on the backside of the reservoir there was an adult
Trumpeter Swan with a flock of 15 Tundra Swans.