Utah County Birders Newsletter
August 2004


Wednesday, August 18th.
UCB Summer Social

This yearís potluck dinner will be held at 7:00 PM at Merrill Webbís home in Orem.
The address is: 1063 East 400 North, Orem.
Dutch oven chicken will be provided along with corn on the cob AND potatoes and tomatoes fresh from Merrillís garden.
Bring a side dish (salads, jell-o, vegetables, etc.) or a dessert. Bring your own utensils and plates ĖĖ cups will be provided.
Please RSVP to Merrill at (801) 224-6113. Wednesday, July 21st.


Friday, August 20th - Half Day
River Lane
Meet at 7:00 AM at the Samís Club East Bay (Provo) parking lot.
Led by KC - 225-0625

Saturday, August 28th - Half Day
Lincoln & LeBarron Points - shorebirds.
Meet at 7:00 AM at the Samís Club East Bay (Provo) parking lot.
Led by KC - 225-0625

Reedís Ramblings
by Reed Stone

With some favorable comments regarding my garden anchor, I will continue using it as a vehicle for my observations.

I raise bell peppers for Jane. They are not my favorite food. Just the same they are doing very well and look almost good enough to sample. We have been enjoying tomatoes for some time. My neighbors now fear me because our zucchini is doing so well. I am contemplating some late hour deliveries and deposit the zucchini along with some peppers and tomatoes to ease the pain.

While the garden is doing well the birds are still around. Another pair of mourning doves are building a nest. It may or may not be the same pair as before. With the river being so low I am seeing spotted sandpipers and snowy egrets foraging for food in the shallows. The hoards of house finches have diminished. The Downies are still around to my great satisfaction.

Now contrary to what some of you may think, I donít spend all of my time in the garden! I do get out and around. The other day I took a young couple around the Provo airport dike and we got 34 species in a fairly short time.. Among them were four SANDHILL CRANES, one OSPREY and three SAGE THRASHERS. There were quite a few PEEPS at Utah Lake State Park. And several species of waders.

I also garden for the birds. The berries are ripening on the Mountain Ash, Hawthorne, Cotoneaster and they are still green on the Pyrocantha. My grapes are far enough along that the birds are starting to take notice of them. Soon I must cover them with a net. Since I have taken up wood carving I have included searching and watching for interesting forms of carvable wood. I was in the hills west of Elberta doing my thing when I flushed a setting MOURNING DOVE. I donít usually carry my camera. Because the nest was in a low bush I came back the next day and took a picture of the two white eggs with a faint blue cast. I have posted a note in my planner to get a picture of the young before they fledge.

My tours are usually very early and often spur of the moment urges. They strike often and without advanced warning. I have to work these tours in between visits of our grandchildren and sometimes with them, as well as our sons and their family vacations. I am sure many of you can relate to that. By now, Iím sure, you understand the title of this news letter.

This time of the year is challenging because of the many juveniles. The swallows are gathering in large mixed flocks near their choice feeding areas. AMERICAN KESTRELS, in many cases appear in family groups. I suspect all migrants are fattening up and getting conditioned for the long flight south. We rarely see birds in pairs this late in the season. Most of the juveniles have fledged and the family rearing bonds weaken as the young become able to make it on their own.

Now is the time to brush up on juvenile plumage. The appearance of migrants out of their regular flyways is always a possibility. Keep a keen eye open for strays and keep on birding.

Birding Alaska by Cruise Ship
(Not to be confused with Nedís Attu Adventure)
 by LeIla Ogden

This is a report of my ten day Cruise aboard the ISLAND PRINCESS between Vancouver B.C. and Whittier, Alaska. and then by bus to Denali Natl. Park and back to Anchorage by train.

The ISLAND PRINCESS is 964 ft. long, 15 floors high, carries 2368 passengers, and 810 crew members. It has four swimming pools, 8 hot tubs, and more gym equipment than Goldís Gym. There are exercise rooms, classrooms, computer rooms , 6 bars and casinos, theaters, tennis, giant chessmen, table tennis, bingo and many shopping areas and speciality shops. There are places I didnít even find out about. Food aboard ship is fantastic. The average weight gain is between 7 and 12 pounds.

My first thought about this article was that it would be a complete joke--- Laughable. Who could bird from a cruise ship anyway?? Certainly not me. Not with my meager skills, and since I was the only birder on the ship I thought chances of getting a good look at anything were pretty slim at best. Cruise ships are not renowned bird spotting locations. Well, I wanted to try so Iíll tell you day by day how things went.

Day 1. Seattle to Vancouver. (From bus window) 1. Northwestern crow *, 2. Glaucous Gull.

Day 2. Open Ocean .. (Rainy and overcast all day) 3. Sooty shearwater *, 4. Leachís Storm Petrel. *

Day 3. Ketchikan 5. Bald Eagle (100ís of them), 6. Raven (about as many of these). 7. Rock Pigeon On Cruise ship ...Inland Passage 8. Black Scoter, 9. White winged Scoter*, 10. Herring Gull, 11. Bonaparteís Gull, 12. Glaucous Winged Gull * Also saw Porpoise, Dolphin, and Orca whales.

Day 4. Whale watch trip from Juneau 13. Marbled Murrelet*, 14. Surf Scoter, 15. Pigeon Guillemot *, 16. Mew Gull *, 17. Red Breasted Merganser, 18. Dark-Eyed Junco, 19. Mallard. Also saw Stellar Sea Lions, Humpback Whales, Orca Whales, Porpoise, and Seals.

Day 5. Skagway to Hanes,... Nature Cruise and Rain Forest Walk 20. Chestnut backed Chicadee*, 21 Hermit Thrush , 22. Stellarís Jay, 23. Great Blue Heron , 24, Barn Swallow, 25. Common Loon, 26. Common Merganser.

Day 6. Cruising Glacier Bay 27 Black Legged Kittiwake *, 28. Tufted Puffin * (nests on rocks by glacier) , 29. Horned Puffin * (nests on rock also) , 30. Pelagic Cormorant.*

Day 7. Nothing new.

Day 8. Nothing new.

Day 9. Wildlife tour in Denali National Park 31. Gyrfalcon * (good, close look), 32. Willow Ptarmigan* (very close), 33. Black Billed Magpie, 34. Golden Eagle, 35 White-crowned Sparrow. Also saw Grizzly bear, Moose, Dall sheep, Caribou, and Wolf.

Day 10. Train from Denali to Anchorage 36. Trumpeter Swans with 7 Cygnets.

* Indicates a "lifer" for me. (15 of them). I must admit there was a naturalist on board part of the time who helped me with some identification, and land tour leaders knew what birds were around, so I think it is all legal.

It was a fantastic trip. I was shocked that I could find so many birds from a cruise ship. I couldnít I.D. the little birds on land because the bus goes too fast to see them good enough , but it was much more successful as a birding adventure than I had supposed it would be. I RECOMMEND IT.

The Latest from our Website:
In the Background
by Milton Moody

At our web site, there are lots of things going on behind the scenes. Eric Huish is doing a great job on the state calendar, the monthly hotline reports, and other behind-the-scene stuff, besides doing a great job on the newsletter.

Weldon Whipple continues doing the behind-the-scene stuff that requires technical knowledge (Weldon has an amazing amount of that). He keeps the viruses and spam under control, keeps the birdnet, birdtalk and other list serves humming along (and has set up searchable archives for the hotlines), AND has developed a web site analysis program called "Urchin" which analyses the activities on the web site.

According to "Urchin" weíre getting around 600 visitors a day on the web site and some of them are from distant and obscure counties. Hereís the top 20 list of countries (and how many visits) in the last month or so (from 1 July to 8 Aug):

1. France 156
2. Netherlands 149
3. Canada 110
4. Germany 61
5. Australia 43
6. Brazil 39
7. United Kingdom 36
8. Japan 32
9. Belgium 31
10. Israel 31
11. Mexico 28
12. Singapore 28
13. Italy 25
14. China 22
15. Finland 18
16. Denmark 16
17. Austria 15
18. Hungary 12
19. Czech Republic 12
20. United Arab Emirates 12

Looks like 12 of the top 20 are from the hotbed of birding, Europe. A couple of surprises are Singapore and United Arab Emirates (Thatís over by Qatar and Oman, in case youíre wondering). Actually, France in the number one position is a bit surprising. The past few months when Iíve checked, the Netherlands has been number one every time. Iím not sure whatís going on in France in the summertime, maybe theyíre trying to turn their attention to something other than the "Tour de Lance," ah, "Tour de France." (Go USA!!).

A lot of new photos have been sent in to the web site this year (going on 300). Some of them are pretty exotic. The Purple Gallinule, the Upland Sandpiper and the recent White-tailed Ptarmigan pictures are pretty exotic even thought they ARE Utah birds.

Our web site is flying right along thanks to all of you who have contributed e-mails to the hotlines, bird photos, place photos, place descriptions, etc. There are a lot of things happening, un-noticed, in the background on the web sites. Thanks to everyone who has helped out. ~ The Webmaster