Birdnet Hotline Highlights

March 2009

Review Species Reported This Month:
     Cackling Goose  Cache Co.  Salt Lake Co.
     Painted Redstart  Washington Co.
     Baird's Sparrow  Washington Co.


Craig Fosdick (29 Mar 2009) - 4-5" fresh snow brought some good birds to my yard today. A flock of 17 White-winged Crossbills flew over the apartment, and was kind enough to land in the big snag in the adjacent horse pasture just long enough for me to count them (at least 5 adult males) before they took off again.

Ryan P. O'Donnell (21 Mar 2009) - Craig Fosdick, Steve Carr, and I birded around Cache Valley today. ... We found both RED CROSSBILLS and White-winged Crossbills at the Logan Cemetery. At least one (possibly two) RICHARDSON'S Cackling Goose was at the fields along Sam Fellows Road.

Craig Fosdick (1 Mar 2009) - Yep, yet another *yawn* White-winged Crossbill post. Today I found WWCR at both Logan Cemetery (previously reported by Ryan O'Donnell and Jason Pietzrak) and Smithfield Cemetery (previously reported by Buck Russell). At least 20 WWCR were at Logan Cemetery, and at least 25 WWCR were at Smithfield Cemetery. The WWCR at Smithfield Cemetery were in the NW corner of the cemetery, near the main gate, and later flew across the road to spruces at 30N 330E. I did not see or hear Red Crossbills at either location.


David Jensen (25 Mar 2009) - Despite snow, rain, wind, (some nice dry periods, but with COLD wind), the Audubon group today saw 38 species at Farmington Bay. No Blue-winged Teal, but the Eurasian Wigeon (very uncooperative as it fussed around on a grass island just inside the main entrance of the refuge in the first big pond on the left). A Clarke's Grebe in the largest pond beyond the gate just past Egg Island. And two Sand Hill Cranes doing their ritual dancing - always cool. 30+ other species.

Les Talbot (21 Mar 2009) - I led a Wasatch Audubon Trip to Antelope Island today. The Varied Thrush is still at Garr Ranch. This was a lifer for me. We saw two Burrowing Owl, one at the bottom of the hill going up to Buffalo Point. The other one was at mile marker 6 (going east) on the south side of the causeway.

Carl Ingwell (17 Mar 2009) - I birded Mueller Park today. Found 3 Golden Crowned Kinglets, 1 Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, 3 White-Winged Crossbill (2 of them flew to the ground and fed no more than 5 feet away from my feet. I found it odd that they were feeding on the ground & so close to me!), Steller's Jay, Pine Siskin, Dark-Eyed Junco, Black-Capped Chickadee, American Robin & Northern Flicker.

Jeff Bilsky (15 Mar 2009) - Carl Ingwell and I headed to Farmington Bay this morning to track down the Eurasian Wigeon along with several other birders who were there. Thanks to Pomera for her great find and telling everyone about it.

Joel Beyer (15 Mar 2009) - The Varied Thrush is still at Garr Ranch on Antelope Island, and we saw the Winter Wren at Mueller Park in Bountiful.

Pomera Fronce (14 Mar 2009) - I found a male Eurasian Wigeon at Farmington Bay today (Saturday) around 1:00. He was in the company of some American Wigeons in the wet area between Goose Egg Island and the new visitors center.

Jeff Bilsky (13 Mar 2009) - Took an evening hike up Mueller Park to see what I could find. Birds weren't plentiful but I got the best look I've ever had at a Winter Wren and a NORTHERN GOSHAWK. I was surprised and pleased to locate both.

Joel Beyer (8 Mar 2009) - Mueller Park in Bountiful was busy with birds this morning. In the pine trees just up the canyon from the caretaker's trailer/second parking lot we found 10-12 White-winged Crossbills, RB Nuthatches, Brown Creeper, GC Kinglets, Pine Siskins, and Mountain and BC Chickadees. At Garr Ranch on Antelope Island, the Varied Thrush is still hanging around...


Weston Smith (30 Mar 2009) - Went birding today with my dad(Arnold Smith), brother(Aaron), and his daughter in Morgan County. We decided to see if we could find any White-winged Crossbills in the county since they have been reported all around Morgan. Our trip was very successful as we found nine White-winged about a half mile from dads house, maybe they will find his feeders or spruce trees.


Tim Avery (24 Mar 2009) - 3 calling flyover White-winged Crossbills near 9000 south and Wasatch Blvd.

Susan Ogilvie - Last Friday, March 20 I saw a pair of White-winged Crossbills here in Silver Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Pomera Fronce (8 Mar 2009) - Jack, Roberta and I birded the Jordan River Parkway south of 12600 South today. The best bird was a Sage Sparrow with a Cackling Goose and Cliff Swallow coming in second and third.  All three birds were seen in the general area of the mitigation site which is the wet area on the east side of the paved trail before you get to the silo.

Martha Veranth (3 Mar 2009) - If you missed the Greater White Fronted Goose at Lake Park in January, there was one grazing with the Canada Geese on the golf course at 4646 Lake Park Blvd (WVC) around 1:45 today. Take highway 201 westbound to Bangerter exit (13); turn left at the top of the ramp; turn right at the entrance to Lake Park Corporate Center (there's a sign); turn left at the T junction and follow the road about 1 mile to 4646 Lake Park Blvd. The GWFG was with a flock of Canada Geese on the section of the golf course between the Intermountain Health Care parking lot and the pond.


Dave Hanscom ( Mar 2009) - My wife and I skied the Beaver Creek Trail (along the Mirror Lake Highway) last Thursday. We saw a flock of Red and White-winged Crossbills (ho hum), but the best sighting of the day was the Ruffed Grouse that wandered across the trail in front of us, seemingly unimpressed with our presence. Pretty neat!


Jeff Bilsky (16 Mar 2009) - Birded Swede Lane after work. Best bird was a Northern Shrike...


Wendy (18 Mar 2009) - just happened to glance out the window to the feeders at the visitor center at Wasatch Mountain State Park (Midway) and low and behold, there were three White-winged Crossbills, two females, one male. That was a first for me and for the park, I believe.


Kathleen & Hal Robins (24 Mar 2009) - We observed our first Painted Redstart (male) on the Three Ponds Trail in Snow Canyon State Park (Ivins, Utah) on Sunday, March 22nd. (Sorry about the late posting - unable to get to a computer or phone.) The bird was very active, fanning its tail and singing, seemingly setting up his territory. While observing this fantastic bird, we heard a loud whirring sound. Above us were two Peregrine Falcons repeatedly stooping on a number of White Throated Swifts. We no longer asked ourselves why we were out in the cold and wind that afternoon.   The State Park map shows the location of Three Ponds (actually small potholes in eroded sandstone) Trail and it is well marked (moderately difficult). The trail is 3.5 miles round trip. The Redstart was located in some large bushes (scrub oak?) on the left side of the trail approximately 150 yards before reaching the first pond. A large rotting log was lying on the left side of the trail seemingly pointing to the bush.

Sid Westerman  - On the morning of March 17, 2009, Nathan Fisher and I, Sid Westerman (I've been birding since my teenage years; I'm now 62 years old) were at Lytle Ranch in Washington County, Utah. While birding at the pond north of the orchards on the ranch we spotted a small (about 5.5 inch sparrow) alone on the ground next to a small stream of water being drained from the pond. It was next to a small bush on the nearly barren flood plain and was very quiet and secretive, making no call or song at all. I had overlooked it as I passed by yet Nathan came and called my attention to it. We watched it for about 5 or 10 minutes, getting a very good look at the head, upper back, and breast of the bird. It had a definite ochre-colored crown down the middle, with not too distinct head markings and, noticeably, a light nearly white breast with a narrow band of fine dark streaks across the breast. This sparrow matches precisely the photo 32.3 of Beadle and Rising's Sparrows of the United States and Canada: The Photographic Guide, page 147. Though I did not get a very clear picture of the tail it was short, and the fairly large flat head was diagnostic. After viewing this bird for some time I picked up my field guide (the new 2008 Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America) and then looked back to find the bird gone. Though it had not flown away I could not find it thereafter. I also referred to Kenn Kaufmann's Lives of North American Birds and Sibley's Guide to Birds, and I compared what I saw with Peterson's and Sibley's guides--to see if it could be a Savannah, Vesper, Grasshopper or other similar species--and was convinced it was none of these. All these habits, field marks, and field guide descriptions compared confirmed to me that this was indeed a Baird's Sparrow migrating to its summer range, though their migration does not generally occur until April. Parenthetically, I have seen Baird's Sparrows before (Dec. 19, 2002) in their winter grounds in southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border.   (I have been birding for about a year. I agree with the information stated by Sid, and also feel confident in his assessment. Nathan Fisher)

Tin Avery (17 Mar 2009) - Sam and I drove down to Washington County late on Friday night (03/13), arriving in the Beaver Dam Wash around midnight. ... Saturday (03/14) we woke to trees budding with green...I took a short stroll through the trees to see what else was a round, when I flushed a Sapsucker. It struck me as odd when it flew, and when it landed it was apparent that this was not an adult bird. The back was heavily barred and had some brownish feathering on the back, head and front--the head was mostly black and white with some brown speckling, and a little bit of red on the forehead. I got a nice shot of the bird with its head turned, and based off the time of year am inclined to believe this is a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER.  ....After birding at Lytle we headed toward St. George. A quick stop at Ivins Reservoir revealed a few Greater Scaup... Heading into town we visited Tonaquint Park, where there wasn't a whole lot of activity.... A Red-shouldered Hawk was seen gliding along the river, and a PRAIRIE FALCON flew through the cemetery here. ... Heading out across the Beaver Dam Slope, we visited Zella Tank which was very overgrown with cattails. There were no birds which wasn't surprising for 5pm. We ended up at our campsite in the middle of nowhere on the slope in time to set up camp and eat dinner before it got dark... The first bird of Sunday (03/15) was a singing CACTUS WREN near camp in the dark. As it became lighter both BLACK-THROATED and SAGE SPARROW were heard singing around camp. We headed up the slope towards the main road when a large bird flushed from near the road and flew off onto a Joshua Tree. It struck me as thrasher-like in shape and flight. When I finally got my binocs on it, I was shocked to see not a Sage Thrasher, but instead a Bendire's Thrasher perched a top the tree. I struggled and grabbed my camera slipping out of the car and peeking around the site, to take a picture of the bird which was about 80 or 90 feet down hill. I snapped off 3 or 4 shots before the bird dove off the tree and flew up and over the hill heading south. ...we hurried back towards Hurricane to check out Sky Mountain Golf Course. At the first pond we checked out there was a lone Greater White-fronted Goose foraging. This is the only pond visible from the road. I don't remember the exact street name, but its pretty easy to find. I knew there had to be another pond, so after spending 15 minutes driving all the road I finally glimpsed what looked like wigeon heads walking along the backside of a bunker. Sure enough a flock of 200+ American Wigeon were foraging here. I spent some time wading through them without luck of finding a Eurasian. Finally some golfers came by and all the birds flushed away. I figured there was a pond, so I found a cart path and wandered onto the edge of the course finally seeing water, and to my surprise a beautiful Eurasian Wigeon swimming with the Americans. And just in time for someone to ask what I was doing, and scold me, I snapped a couple pics and hurried off the course.


Bryant Olsen - This past weekend I went to Capital Reef NP. and on Saturday the 21st I saw a flock of Canada Geese, with 9 Greater White-fronted Geese mixed in. They were flying west over Torrey at dawn.


Tim Avery (7 Mar 2009) - Jeff Bilsky, Carl Ingwell and I spent the morning birding around northern Utah. ...Heading south and east we went up to Huntsville and the City Park where there were between 20-25 White-winged Crossbill, a number of Siskin, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Eurasian Collared-Doves. We also checked out the cemetery which was dad (no pun intended). Leaving Huntsville a flock of birds at the VFW (I think) caught our attention. Among House Finches and Pine Siskin were at least 2 more WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS.  We headed back towards Ogden and I stopped to photograph the waterfall near the mouth of Ogden Canyon. 2 Flocks of GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCHES flew off the hillside and down the canyon. A total of maybe 30-40 birds were seen.


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