Birdnet Hotline Highlights

February 2009

Review Species Reported This Month:
    Cackling Goose   Cache Co.. Davis Co.
    Western Gull   Davis Co.
    Iceland Gull   Davis Co.
    Lesser Black-blacked Gull   Salt Lake Co. 
    Rusty Blackbird   Summit Co.


Ryan O'Donnell (16 Feb 2009) - Stephanie Cobbold and I birded around several locations in Cache County this afternoon for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)... At least two CACKLING GEESE were still in the flock of 500-1000 Canada Geese along Sam Fellow Road. There was also one partially leucistic Canada Goose in the flock, with white feathers interspersed throughout its black neck sock. The highlight for me, though, was a flock of about eleven WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS feeding in the spruces of a residential area. Red Crossbills are usually much more common here in Cache County, but we couldn't find a single Red among this flock of White-wingeds (or anywhere else).

Jason Pietrzak (28 Feb 28 2009) - I just wanted to add a couple things to this report... When we went looking in the cemetery (where Ryan O'Donnell first reported huge flocks earlier this week), we found a huge group of Red Crossbills with only a couple White-wingeds mixed in. After a bit of searching, we found the White-wingeds in a short Spruce stand and we were able to get really close to them. My best guess is that there were equal numbers of total Red and White-winged Crossbills, maybe 20-30 of each.

Ryan O'Donnell (1 Feb 2009) - I birded around several locations in Cache County today...  There was a flock of about 500 Canada Geese feeding along Sam Fellow Road where the White-fronted Goose was seen last year. I found one Cackling Goose among these Canadas, shown here at the lower right:

Jason Pietrzak (31 Jan 2009) -  Subject: Logan Canyon Saturday - I went for a snowshoe up one of the hills near Temple Fork today and  found a flock of around 60 Red Crossbills at about 6000 ft. Mtn. Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Solitaires, a Raven, and a Golden Eagle rounded out the expected species that were seen but I was somewhat surprised to see a pair of Robins at about 6500 ft, well above all the other species. Is it just me, or is that a little bizarre?


Paul Higgins (22  Feb 2009) - Iceland Gull--Farmigton, FWMA .[see note for 7 Feb below]  (photos)

Dave Hanscom(15 Feb 2009) - ...It was really cold up here, so I decided to head for lower elevations and went to Antelope Island in search of wrens at Ladyfinger Point. Once again I struck out, but as luck would have it, a flock of American Tree Sparrows cruised through while I was there. Nice year bird!

Also, the Varied Thrush was still at the ranch, and the two Long-tailed Ducks were at the bridge near the island. I couldn't find a rail, but a couple of Loggerhead Shrikes were hanging out along the road to the ranch.

Jeff Bilsky (8 Feb 2009) - Today was a great day of birding - as predicted. I woke up thinking I'd go
to Farmington Bay for Gulls but I never actually made it there....Next stop - Antelope Island. My initial run through the causeway didn't reveal too much; there was a MERLIN right outside the entrance gate and a whole bunch of PHEASANTS in the marsh just inside. I zipped over to the ranch where I immediately saw the VARIED THRUSH. Also a very cooperative VIRGINIA RAIL as well as a nice looking HERMIT THRUSH. A lone female CALIFORNIA QUAIL made for my first island record of this species. The GREAT HORNED OWLS hung out in the barn. 
I was next going to head to Farmington Bay, but couldn't make it past the AI causeway. This time, I found a LONG TAILED DUCK at the same bridge it usually is seen. A PRAIRIE FALCON on one of the light posts gave me the best look I've ever had at this species. Then, as I was heading back to the exit, I saw that the fields to the North were packed with CANADA GEESE and a good number of TUNDRA SWANS. Amongst the geese, I found a lone SNOW GOOSE and what I am confident was at least one CACKLING GOOSE. There were so many Canada Geese and more kept showing up but there was one tiny one I studied for like 20 minutes and I believe it was a Cackler. There was one crazy looking hybrid that showed up - I believe it was a CANADA/GREATER WHITE FRONTED mix - a poor digibinoc photo is on the link I listed above.

Cindy Sommerfeld ( 7 Feb 2009) - Around 3:30 this afternoon Steve and I traveled to Farmington Bay . It turned out to be an eight Gull Day. We drove to the furthest gate south and walked south through the gate and to the first bridge. On the east side there is a crack in the ice and lots of gulls. We found:  Mew Gull (juvenile), Ring-billed Gulls (lots), California Gulls (lots), Herring Gulls (lots), Thayer's Gulls (2 adult and several juvenile), Glaucous Gulls (1 adult and 2 juvenile), Western Gull (we call lit "Tim's Gull"), and what we feel was an Iceland Gull


Brian Maxfield (13 Feb 2009) - I found a beautiful male WHITE-WINGED SCOTER today. It was on Big Sand Wash Reservoir in Duchesne County. This area is northeast of Duchesne. This small reservoir has some of the only open water for miles...


Pomera Fronce (18 Feb 2009) - Roberta Wherritt and I birded the Alta Bypass Road (Little Cottonwood Canyon) today. We watched a flock of about 50 Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finches for a couple of hours and with apologies to Dave Hanscom, finally found one Black Rosy-Finch amongst them. We also got stunning looks at three male and three female White-winged Crossbills.

Jon Watkins (16 Feb 2009) - For our GBBC observation, my son Kendall and I went up to Alta--the Rosy-finches did not disappoint! Amidst light snowfall, they were out in abundance at the curve in the bypass road just east of the Ben Hame home (at a feeder on back deck of a condo, easily observed from the road). Both Black and Gray-crowned were present, mixing with a large flock of Pine Siskins. Estimated around 100 Siskins, and 50-60 Rosy-finches...

Kathleen Robins (7 Feb 2009) - Just observed (8:00 a.m. Saturday) 4 Sandhill Cranes flying low and headed east then turning south at approximately 27th South and 3000 East in Salt Lake City (close to Parley's Nature Park). They were flying toward the rising sun into a pink sky - beautiful.

Pomera Fronce  (6 Feb 2009) - Roberta Wherritt and I found a Lesser Black-blacked Gull in the open water on the west side of the SL County Landfill at 11:00 a.m. today.  The lone Pygmy Nuthatch is still present at the SLC Cemetery and is still in the same general area of 330 North and Center Street.


Dave Hanscom (12 Feb 2009) - This morning, as I was driving through the Park Meadows neighborhood of Park City ...As I looked around, I noticed a bunch of other birds in nearby spruce trees. These were mostly House Finchs, Pine Siskins, and Juncos, usual fare for Park City. Much to my amazement, however, sitting right on top of one of the trees was a White-winged Crossbill! Upon closer examination of the other birds in the group, I found a juvenile Red Crossbill as well.

Jeff Bilsky (8 Feb 2009) - Today was a great day of birding - as predicted. I woke up thinking I'd go
to Farmington Bay for Gulls but I never actually made it there....Started in Francis to see if I could find the Rusty Blackbird or whatever else might be around and found a WHITE THROATED SPARROW at the intersection of 1000 East and Lower River Road. This was a Utah life bird for me. Also around the area were a HERMIT THRUSH and a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE and still a handful or so of EVENING GROSBEAKS. A couple Elk grazed on the hillside. It began to snow right before I found the WTSP and I decided to bail and head back down to the valley.

Jeff Bilsky (8 Feb 2009) - This morning at about 10:30 am in Francis, I found a WHITE THROATED SPARROW at the corner of 1000 East and Lower River Road on the North side of the road in the bushes. ... No Rusty Blackbird. No Waxwings at all. A handful of EVENING GROSBEAKS were around and some other decent birds.

Shelly Spencer (2 Feb 2009) - I am really glad others were able to spot the female Rusty Blackbird. I spotted this bird between Lower River Road and Spring Hollow Road. I was also lucky to see Evening Grosbeaks, Cedar Waxwings and lots of Robins... It was a fabulous day to bird on Saturday.


Matt Mills (25 Feb 2009) - Following Jeff Bilsky's post of the 'mounds of dead carp' at River Lane, Eric Huish and I headed out there this afternoon (Feb 25) to pick through the gulls. With the strong winds blowing we didn't smell a thing.  Among the many Ring-billed, California, and good number of Herring Gulls we managed to find a definitive basic LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. There were at least 5 BALD EAGLES in the area so the gulls kept rising off the field and doing a few circles before settling again so we managed to get great views of the bird both standing and flying around. At one point it flew away and disappeared out in a flooded field further out, but returned a short while later. We also had 2 TREE SWALLOWS and 5 SANDHILL CRANES flying around over the field.

Eric Huish (22 Feb 2009) - I drove up American Fork Canyon in Utah County this morning to look for crossbills. AF Canyon...My final stop was at the gate into Mutual Dell Lodge... I just waited here for my crossbills to show up. After a half hour of waiting (~10:45 a.m.) a flock of about 20 White-winged Crossbills flew into a tree close enough for me to get great views in great lighting. While waiting for the crossbills I enjoyed watching several Clark's Nutcrackers, a Steller's Jay, Mountain Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, a few Golden-crowned Kinglets, a Townsend's Solitaire and an American Robin.

Eric Huish (20 Feb 2009) - I drove up to the Timpanogos Trailhead parking at Aspen Grove after work today.  I'm nearly positive I had a female White-winged Crossbill in the top of a tree Southwest of the parking lot but it wasn't a satisfying look. There were crossbills in the area. I got a great look at a male Red Crossbill at the top of a tree right next to the road. I also found a couple Pine Grosbeak at the top of a snag south of the Parking area.

Eric Huish (15 Feb 2009) - I birded a couple local canyons here in Pleasant Grove this morning for the GBBC... Next I stopped at Grove Creek Canyon (East end of 500 North in PG). Walking through the snow at Battle Creek Canyon had tuckered me out so I had only planned on birding from the parking area but as I was watching a Golden Eagle up on the hillside I heard a flock of Rosy-Finches. By the time I located them they were flying into the canyon. So I hiked up the canyon after them. Less than a 1/4 mile up I found them at the top of some rock outcroppings on the North rim of the canyon. Looking through my scope I could only see Gray-crowned but I couldn't see the whole flock. A Sharp-shinned Hawk dove into the flock and they all flew over the canyon and disappeared over the South rim. I estimated around 60 finches.


Rick Fridell (11 Feb 2009) - This evening at 5:30p I saw a female Long-tailed Duck at Sand Hollow State Park (Washington Co.). She was swimming/diving off of the emerged sand and gravel bar south of the main parking lot. It appears that waterfowl are starting to move as there was also a male Red-breasted Merganser present on the reservoir, and Cinnamon Teal are starting to show up in the county...

Rick Fridell (29 Jan 2009) - ...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...

Keeli Marvel (2 Feb 2009)  - Yesterday (Sunday) morning I stopped on my way home from the St. George Bird Festival to check out the waterfowl hanging out in the ponds on Sky Mountain Golf Course just off 600 N. and about 2600 W. on the outskirts of Hurricane. I saw 2 Snow Geese, 1 Egyptian Goose (which threw me for a loop), a Greater White-fronted Goose, a Mute Swan, a whole bunch of Canada Geese, American Widgeons and one lone Eurasian Widgeon. Great weather, and great weekend of birding!


Kris Purdy (19 Feb 2009) - Add Ogden Valley in Weber County to the list of locations WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS are using this winter. I saw them in two locations in the valley today. The first was on 6800E., which is a south turn off SR-39 at about mile 17.1 across the road from Anderson Cove Campground. The other spot was in Huntsville Cemetery at the west end of 100S. in Huntsville on Cemetery Point.  The flock in the spruce trees at the corner of SR-39 and 6800E. numbered at  least 30 birds, although I only saw five until they flew. What a surprise. I  don't think any Red Crossbills were present by the sound of the flight calls. The group at the cemetery numbered only four White-wings.


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