Hotline Highlights

March 20

 Review Species Reported this month:
California Condor   Daggett Co.
Iceland Gull   Salt Lake Co.


Mike Hearell (23 Mar 2014) - Taylor Abbott and I birded around the west side of Willard Bay this afternoon in hopes of finding Snowy Plovers. We found six out by Willard Spur and eleven in Weber County along the Harold Crane/Rainbow Unit Canal Road... Eurasian Wigeon, Horned Grebe and Greater Scaup were all seen on Willard Spur but were not flagged as rare in eBird. The wigeon I thought was more than likely the same one being seen in Weber over the last week but, after Norm Jensen's report from Weber earlier in the same day, maybe not.

Paul Higgins (8 Mar 2014) - Northern Shrike--Corinne, Box Elder County, Utah. Rather surprised to find one in the corn patch this time of year. Also Snow & Ross's Geese.

Bryant Olsen (6 Mar 2014) - Today I covered a lot of ground through the east side wetlands of the Great Salt Lake, looking for migrant waterfowl. Started of in west Corrine looking for "White" Geese. As I found my first flock of them flying over and was following them to the field they were gathered in, I ran into Dickson Smith who informed me thousands were down the road a bit. Sure enough, I estimate 2-3000 Geese were in a corn field on about 6800 W and 800 N, literal on the side of the road. As I pulled up it quickly became apparent that these were not just Snow Geese. In fact the majority were Ross's Geese, I estimate about 2/3 of them, the other 1/3 being Snow. This is actually normal for this location which, for whatever reason, usually has a ton of Ross's Geese. As I started scanning them, it didn't take me long to find a Blue Morph Snow among them. Then I spotted another Blue Morph, but it looked smaller and darker. I changed my position and got a better angle, and then spent the next half hour watching a BLUE MORPH ROSS'S GOOSE! At times it was very close and I got great looks at it. Blue Morph Ross's are the holy grail of Chen geese, only surpassed by the Emperor in rareness.
   --I then went to Bear River MBR, the Tundra Swans are definitely in, by the thousands, but because its now ice free, they are mostly distant, so I couldn't find any Bewick's Swans among them. Quite a few DC Cormorants and AW Pelicans around, and 1 large gathering of Bald Eagles too.    The best birds for me were 2 Savannah Sparrows and a Red-breasted Merganer. Also quite a few Sandhill Cranes around.

Dave Hanscom (6 Mar 2014) - Yesterday Bob Huntington and I drove up to Corrine to look for Snow Geese.... In less than a quarter mile we were in a good spot to observe the birds feeding in a corn field. It was about 7:30 am.
   --That's when the show started. Huge groups of white geese began coming in from the south and landing in the field with the others. There were certainly more than a thousand when we left, with more coming all the time. Every once in a while a few hundred would take off all at once and swirl around, them come back down. I got a few photos, but couldn't point the camera upward due to the rain, so I couldn't get the big flocks as they came in. Most were Snow Geese, but there were lots of Ross's in the mix.
   --One other stop was Salt Creek WMA to see if the Tundra Swans had arrived. They had, indeed, in numbers that we estimated to be several hundred, with a nice variety of ducks mixed in. Also, a nice surprise was a flock of about 20 Greater Yellowlegs, plus a pair of Sandhill Cranes.
   --We found Chipping and Vesper Sparrows at the Golden Spike Visitor Center, but no Gray Partridge. The lady at the counter said she hadn't seen them for a couple of weeks. The snow is all gone out there, so Horned Larks were very scarce, and the Snow Buntings seem to have departed.
   --All in all, a great day of birding. I do love spring, even when it comes too early and messes up the skiing!


Steve Christensen (21 Mar 2014) - I currently have six [White-winged Doves] at my feeders in Price.


Eric Huish (20 Mar 2014) - Pat Jividen just called me to report a CALIFORNIA CONDOR in Dagget County. (He couldn't send an email from where he is.) Pat was with his wife and some friends driving along the highway about 3 miles north of Dutch John in Dagget County when an adult California Condor crossed in front of them. It flew behind a hill. Pat turned the car around and was able to get a second look. They saw the red head and big white marks in the wings. It was a tagged bird. Pat says they tried to read the wing tag but never could quite get a clear look. The tag was a 3 digit number and he thought one of the numbers may have been a '4' but isn't sure.


Bryant Olsen (6 Mar 2014) - I drove the back roads from Willard bay to Farmington Bay, looking for flocks of Canada Geese, hoping for a tag along Greater White-fronted. I did not find one, but plenty of Geese. 7 Wood Ducks on the Weber River were a nice surprise though. Then not far from the entrance station to the AIC, I came across a flock of Sandhill Cranes in a pasture, 40 of them, which is my new state high count for a single flock. But the most interesting thing about them was that a few of them at least were super tiny, and appeared to be LESSER Sandhill Cranes, the smaller arctic nesting race of Sandhill Cranes that are more typically found in the great plains during migration. I've seen them by the hundreds of thousand in Nebraska, and they always strike me as tiny and short billed compared to the Greater Sandhills that I am familiar with. This flock appeared to be a mixed flock and the Greaters towered over the diminutive Lessers. I've never seen a Lesser Sandhill Crane in Utah before. Another highlight for the day was a few Brown-headed Cowbirds in a feed lot, you guessed it, riding the backs of the cows. That made for 5 species of Blackbirds in one day, Red-winged, Yellow-headed, Brewer's, GT Grackle and BH Cowbirds. Its been awhile since that happened.

Cindy Sommerfeld (3 Mar 2014) - [Antelope Island] - Today was beautiful on the island. Good weather and Spring coming helps the numbers. It was fun to see an early Chipping Sparrow.
Today's species total was 40: [highlights] ...Sandhill Crane,...Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl,...Chipping Sparrow,...Great-tailed Grackle,...


Pat Jividen (8 Mar 2014) - Evening Grosbeaks. Just about hour ago I had about 50 of the birds at my feeder in Tabiona.


Janice Vander Molen (10 Mar 2014) - [Eureka] - Bush Tits, this afternoon in the hills north of highway 6, north of Eureka. There were two of them flitting in a small tree.


Doug Mead (21 Mar 2014) - Ned and I and new birder from Tremonton banged out another 3 counties yesterday bringing our total to 16. ...Rich County was a bugger. We drove within a mile of the Wyoming line before hitting 31 total. The wind was howling and Bear Lake had nothing on it at all. Best birds were 3 Tundra Swans and 2 Trumpeter Swans at Deseret Ranch and lots and lots of Sandhill Cranes.


Matthew Wallace (28 Mar 2014) - [East Millcreek] - Here in East Millcreek the California Quail are making their annual spring return. I've seen them now for only a few days, a group of about 10.

Joel Beyer (23 Mar 2014) - Lee Kay Ponds had a nice assortment of species (~30) this morning. The Greater Scaup and Ross' Geese were still there, along with a flock of Tree Swallows, a Neotropic Cormorant, a Short-billed Dowitcher, and an unexpected first winter ICELAND GULL that made a brief appearance near the gazebo before flying off.

Bryant Olsen (17 Mar 2014) - Swung over to Lee Kay ponds this evening. Lots of continuing waterfowl, nothing terribly exciting, but I did see a big flock of mixed Green-winged and Cinnamon Teal. Large flock of around 30 Avocets too. I looked for the Grackle among the Blackbirds, no luck. All the large flocks of California Gull had already headed off to roost for the night, but I was surprised to still find good gull action of the east pond, mostly Herring Gulls. I quickly found the continuing dark "Olympic" Gull that's been there for awhile now, and the 3rd cycle GLAUCOUS GULL.

Norm Jenson (14 Mar 2014) - A Ruby-crowned Kinglet continues to visit my Sandy backyard.

Bryant Olsen (8 Mar 2014) - This morning I found the continuing adult white-striped morph WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Big Cottonwood Park in Holladay. It was in the southeast corner of the park, near the parking lot behind the senior center. Also there was 1 nearly pure white American Robin mixed in with the hundreds of regular Robins there...

Matthew Wallace (7 Mar 2014) - [East Millcreek] -  I've just seen a group of say 10 Cedar Waxwings near our house, eating berries off of a tree. One has red tips on each wing, others do not. All have light rump as opposed to darker Bohemian Waxwing.

Richard Young (3 Mar 2014) - My earlier post announcing the arrival of Hooded Mergansers at Mehraban Wetlands in Draper, UT. met with great success, with scores of birders taking advantage of the heads-up...

Stephen T (3 Mar 2014) - Lots on the move. Yesterday, Saturday, I say a formation of over 200 White Pelicans flying north over 5600 W. and 4700 S., West Valley City.


Leena Rogers (16 Mar 2014) - About 18 of us participated in the excellent Utah County Birders field trip led by Dennis Shirley. We covered four counties: Millard, Juab, Sevier and Sanpete. In Sevier County we located a EURASIAN WIGEON on the Redmond Reservoir. Also there were some Vesper Sparrows in a ploughed field and Tree Swallows flying east side of the reservoir.


Brian Maxfield (6 Mar 2014) - The Sagebrush Sparrows have returned to their breeding areas in the Uinta Basin. I heard and saw numerous in the desert area between Roosevelt and Vernal. In fact, they outnumbered the Horned Larks. The Sage Thrashers should be coming back in the next couple of weeks and then the Vesper Sparrows. Brewer's Sparrows are always the last to arrive in the sagebrush areas in this part of the world.
   --Pelican Lake is still frozen but there are large numbers of waterfowl using the small open water areas along the edges. I saw one flock of Snow Geese drop into a corn field with over 1500 Canada Geese. I also had 5 Greater White-fronted Geese drop in fast. It is always cool to see these geese loose altitude by twisting and spiraling. There are also a lot of Bald Eagles in the Pelican Lake area. They congregate in this area during this time to hunt waterfowl and the prairie dogs that are just coming up for the year.


Bryant Olsen (25 Mar 2014) - Yesterday(3-24-14) around sunset I re-found the adult male EURASIAN WIGEON at Pioneer Crossing ponds. It was with several American Wigeon on the west end of the pond. I had been there in the morning and not found it, I then explored several areas around Utah Lake, and happened to be back there at sunset and had to look again, pink head unmistakable. Other good birds seen included several CLARK'S GREBES on Utah Lake, several BONAPARTE'S GULLS, 2 BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Skipper Bay. Plus a dark Harlan's Hawk near Goshen, and a light Ferruginous Hawk on the west side of the lake.

Eric Huish (25 Mar 2014) - I counted 23 Turkey Vultures at the center street roost in Provo this morning. (3/25). They roost in the large sycamores at 400 E Center Street.

Jeff Cooper (20 Mar 2014) - [Provo Airport Dike] - Light Harlan's and a Neotropic Cormorant at the dike.

Dennis Shirley (19 Mar 2014) - This afternoon there was a FOY Common Loon on Deer Creek Reservoir in Rainbow Bay and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers near the Provo River inlet. Lots of other common waterfowl.

Ned Bixler (19 Mar 2014) - This afternoon, there were two Blue-winged Teal along the Skipper Bay trail, along with some mallards.

Susan Lindberg (9 Mar 2014) - [Lehi] - There's a Great Egret in the pond on the north side of Pioneer Crossing about .8 mile west of S 2300 W if anyone is interested.

Alona Huffaker (2 Mar 2014) - About 20 Sandhill Cranes were flying high above Springville midday today. Love that sound!


Candy Zaffis (27 Mar 2014) - I've been keeping track of when the Say's Phoebe arrive at a specific location on Dugway (since I arrived in Utah). It appears to be a little late this year (March 26) - LOL!
It's just a pretty little bird that gives me hope that Spring is really near. :-)


Kate (28 Mar 2014) - Beautiful Mr. and Mrs. Cinnamon Teal on the Santa Clara River in the Mathis Park area in St. George.  Seen now for 3 days.


Eric Huish (19 Mar 2014) - Merrill Webb just called me to report a flock of 21 Greater White-fronted Geese and a Blue-winged Teal in Loa, Wayne County. The geese were in an irrigation pond on the West side of Main Street about 1 mile south of town. When driving south on the main street through Loa the road turns east. Don't follow the road east, take Main Street south at the turn.

Steve Christensen (2 Mar 2014) - Yesterday there were 21 Greater White-fronted and three Ross's geese on an irrigation pond approximately one mile south of Loa in Wayne County.


Mike Hearell (29 Mar 2014) -  Yesterday around noon I birded one of my favorite (and only) Weber County locations for shorebirds. My very first bird of the day was a sparrow that I thought was a mouse... After I was able to get better looks at it, I was more than pleasantly surprised as I discovered it was a HARRIS'S SPARROW! A bird that only a couple of months ago was my nemesis bird I've now seen three times this year. Other good birds were 5 FOY Black-necked Stilts, 12 Savannah Sparrows, large numbers of Avocets, Curlew, waterfowl, and one clearly lost Slate Dark-eyed Junco.

Mike Hearell (15 Mar 2014) - Currently looking at a Drake Eurasian Wigeon on 6700 W in west Weber County!

Mike Hearell (14 Mar 2014) -  I took a quick trip out to the north entrance to Ogden Bay WMA this morning for a quick look of what might be expected on tomorrow's field trip. In just under 45 minutes I had 35 species of birds with the highlights being a large group of Canvasbacks, Am Avocets, the continuing Yellowlegs and one lonesome TRUMPETER SWAN.


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