Utah County Birders Newsletter
Upcoming Field Trips
Field Trip Report
- Snow Goose Festival – March 4th, 2006
Field Trip Report
- Goshen/Dividend/Utah Lake Field Trip - March 18th, 2006
Backyard Bird of the
Wednesday, April 12th.
Field Guide and Bird Guide Reviews
- Meet at 7:00 PM in the Bean Museum Auditorium on the BYU Campus.
Friday - Sunday, April 7th - 9th.
Utah Ornithological Society (UOS) Trip to San
Juan Co. - UCB members meet at Sam's Club parking
lot Friday at 7:45 am to join with others coming from the north. For
details check our website, or call Tuula at 377-5477.
Saturday, April 15
Flora Duncan is the leader for a walk along the
Provo-Jordan River walkway. Meet in the Oxbow parking lot at
Saturday, April 29
Meet in the parking lot on Orem 800 N at the mouth of Provo Canyon at
7:30 am. We'll go to Vivien Park, South Fork,
Deer Creek Reservoir, Charleston and on as time permits.
Saturday, May 13
Robert Brown is going to lead us on a bird walk on
BYU campus. Meet at the Botany Pond on
800 N 500 E at 7:30 am.
By Alton Thygerson
“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are,
Anything your heart desires will come to you…”
These lyrics come from a song in Disney movie, Pinocchio. And, probably all of
us at some point in life wish that life were that easy. And, if not life, then
at least our hobby of birding.
What prompted this month’s article was the arrival of the American Birding
Association’s The Birder’s Catalog. It caused me reflect on catalogs and some of
us may recall that catalogs long ago were also known as “wish books.”
Catalogs from Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck and Company made it possible
for farm and small town families to buy many things not available to them in
small towns. Many a person spent hours pouring through these catalogs and
I shouldn’t get started on catalogs since it seems that at least a half-a-dozen
arrive at my home almost daily. My wife, unlike many women, doesn’t like to
shop—that’s saved me a lot of money. That is, however, until I introduced her to
a Lands’ End catalog. Because mailing lists are sold to other companies, we get
a lot of women’s clothing catalogues. My wife now walks through the catalogues,
and either calls or uses the internet for ordering instead of walking through a
Now back to birding and the ABA catalog. Flipping through its pages you will
find everything from binoculars to water filters. Needless to say, most birders
do not need most of the items in the catalog. I noticed that several books were
less expensive through the ABA than ordering on-line through Amazon.com.
Moreover, Amazon does not have many of the books cited in the ABA catalog.
The catalog devotes about a third of its pages to regional guides.
Seeing the location guides to various places made me start “wishing” I could
visit some of them.
Just as the ABA catalog prompted the previous section, an intriguing book
entitled America’s 100 Most Wanted Birds by Steven G. Mlodinow and Michael
O’Brien prompted this section. For those wanting to see a Hook-billed Kite or a
Lucifer Hummingbird, this book tells where to go. This book may be for the
serious birders wanting to tack on more species onto their life list in the
lower 48 states.
Dennis Shirley, one of Utah’s most avid birders, has a map in which he has
placed a pin for every specie from his “wish list” and a most likely location
for finding each specie. Last month he removed several pins from the map because
he made the effort and was amply rewarded with a Yellow Grosbeak in New Mexico,
a Rufous-capped Warbler and a Streak-backed Oriole in Arizona.
Last spring Merrill Webb, another avid birder, and wife made a special birding
trip to see the Lesser Prairie Chicken in Kansas, and I know that he and Dennis
have made deliberate stops in St. Louis, Missouri which is the only place in the
U.S. to capture a look at the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. Regardless of what the
above song lyrics say, it takes an effort to make your birding wish list come
Few parents have children spread through all four time zones in the United
States at the same time, but presently that’s my case. So as my wife and I visit
the kids, some time is allocated for dear old dad to take off and search for new
birds. I have intentions of locating the Greater and Lesser Prairie Chickens, a
Mountain Plover, and a Longspur or two this month while visiting a son in
Colorado. If the Yellow Grosbeak is still being seen in Albuerque, I’ll swing
down to see it on this same trip.
Having a son in California opens up all kinds of possibilities for new species
not yet seen such as a Mountain Quail and a Pacific Ocean pelagic trip would add
a lot of birds to my wish list. A trip to Pennsylvania may allow me to see a
Henslow’s Sparrow and a side trip into West Virginia could turn up a Swainson’s
I can testify that it’s cost-effective to see birds by going on a birding tour
with a professional guide or
going on birding trips such as last spring’s Utah County Birder’s southern
California trip conducted by the Aaron and Arnold Smith. In both cases you get
the “biggest bang for the buck.” or in other words, the most birds for your
However, sometimes you just have to do bird alone when others are unavailable.
I’ve scheduled myself for such a trip to the Big Bend National Park for a
10-mile hike to see the Colima Warbler and for the King Ranch in search for the
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl this spring. Another good “wish list” involves fulfilling
the Utah County Birders’ 2006 Challenge. Meeting its requirements can add to a
birder’s motivation for getting out into the field. The 1996 UCB Challenge was
what hooked me into becoming more involved in birding as a lifelong avocation.
And, don’t forget that one of the 2006 Challenge requirements is to attend six
of the 12-month UCB meetings—see you there!
Field Trip Report
Snow Goose Festival – March 4th, 2006
by LeIla Ogden
Some of the Snow Geese and the Barn Owl seen
on the Field Trip - 4 March 2006
photos by Milton Moody
Utah County Birders at Lynndyl
Pond - 4 March 2006
photo by Milton Moody
Milt Digiscoping - 4 March 06
photo by Margaret T. Sanchez
“Thousands of Snow Geese gather to watch flocks of folks in their winters
Each February thousands of beautiful white Snow Geese use the fields and waters
around Delta as a rest stop on their northern migration.
The geese spend the winter in Imperial Valley in southern California preparing
for their trip north. They arrive in mid February and by mid March they are
gone. They breed on the Anderson River in May.
Geese lay between 2 and 10 eggs with most nests having 5 or less. Females do
almost all of the incubating while the males stand guard. Females rarely leave
the nest and will lose up to 25% of their body weight while nesting. The eggs
hatch in 19 to 24 days. Snow geese are very successful nesters; still 59% of
young geese do not survive to return to the nesting grounds.
The geese that congregate in Delta spend much of the morning and evening in the
agricultural fields feeding on young shoots of volunteer grain and weeds.
Usually about 10:30 a.m. they fly in huge masses to the water. This is where our
group of 11 Utah County Birders, led by Leena, gathered to watch the fly-in.
(Along with hundreds of others) The fly-in was a little late so we drove to the
fields to get a closer look at both Snow and Ross’s geese. They did finally
reward us with a beautiful sight of thousands of geese in the air and settling
on the water. Surely worth the trip.
A wonderful surprise was a beautiful Barn Owl sitting in a low branch of a
nearby tree pointed out to us by Merrill Webb. Really a highlight.
On the way to and from Delta we saw: ring billed gulls, magpies, rock doves, 4
bald eagles, starlings, robins, mourning doves, ravens, horned larks, red tailed
hawks, rough legged hawks, canada geese, red wing blackbirds, meadowlarks, scrub
jays, northern flickers, northern harriers, Am. kestrels , white crowned
sparrows, killdeers, ruddy ducks, pintails, common merganser, coots, green wing
teals, yellow rumped warbler, and juniper titmouse. What a collection of great
The group spent a long time trying to I.D. a nearby hawk. Is it a red tail or is
it a Ferruginous hawk? Several scopes were trained on the bird as field marks
were discussed. The consensus was finally Ferruginous. Just then the hawk flew
and we saw a red tail. Tuula was right all along.
Field Trip Report
Goshen/Dividend/Utah Lake Field Trip - March 18th, 2006
by Stephanie Peterson
Birding 'Secret Pond' (Green's Pond)
in Goshen - 18 March 2006
photo by Eric Huish
Utah County Birders birding Dividend -
18 March 2006
photo by Eric Huish
Eleven birders met at 8:00 am. at the Sam's Club parking lot. We had a fun
and exciting trip through the southern part of Utah County. Participants were
Kathy Knaus, Bonnie Williams, Flora Duncan, Ned Bixler, KC Childs, Leila Ogden,
Margaret Sanchez, Eric Huish, Milt Moody, Stephanie and Cheryl Peterson.
Our first stop was in Goshen. We saw a GOLDEN EAGLE sitting on her nest. Other
birds included RED-WING BLACKBIRD, AMERICAN PIPIT, WILSON'S SNIPE, NORTHERN
HARRIER, WESTERN MEADOWLARK, MALLARD, NORTHERN PINTAIL, ROBIN, KILLDEER, HOUSE
SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD,
GREAT BLUE HERON, COMMON RAVEN, CANADA GOOSE, HORNED LARK, SONG SPARROW,
SAVANNAH SPARROW, AMERICAN KESTREL, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, RED-TAILED HAWK, COMMON
GOLDENEYE, CINNAMON TEAL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, GADWALL, COOT,
NORTHERN SHOVELER, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, TURKEY VULTURE and, of course, a STARLING.
We then headed to Dividend where we saw a BEWICK'S WREN, BUSHTIT, SPOTTED
TOWHEE, RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, ROCK PIGEON, FLICKER, WESTERN SCRUB JAY, TOWNSEND'S
SOLITAIRE. At that point, some of the birders left to go home. As we left
Dividend, some heard a JUNIPER TITMOUSE.
At LeBarron's Point, we saw 2 BALD EAGLES, SANDHILL CRANE, and heard a VIRGINIA
As we traveled around the lake, we saw a BUFFLEHEAD and a GULL sp. The last bird
added to the list was an AMERICAN PELICAN. Then, as my mom and I left the Sam's
Club parking lot, we saw some GREAT-TAILED GRACKLES.
Backyard Bird of the
Steve Carr - Holladay
Myrtle Warbler - My first Utah sighting. Audubon's the month before, now
Wade Covert - Provo
Dark-eyed Juncos - darting between the bush and beneath the feeders.
Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Song Sparrow - singing almost all the time.
Milt Moody - Provo
Lincoln’s Sparrow - It's been here for over a week.
LeIla Ogden - Orem
At my cabin above Midway I have had Evening Grosbeaks all winter. They
are still there.
Cheryl Peterson - Provo
3 new sparrow species for my yard - Brewer's, Lincoln's and Song.
Tuula Rose - Provo
Mountain Chickadee - comes for suet and sunflower seeds with his cousins
most every day.
Dennis Shirley - Elk Ridge
Spotted Towhee - 3 or 4 of them.
Mark Stackhouse - Salt Lake City
Bohemian Waxwing - eating the pyracantha berries.
Mark Stackhouse - San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico
Black-throated Magpie-Jay - a new yard bird for me, in the mango tree out
Bonnie Williams - Mapleton
Ring-necked Pheasant - 1 rooster and 5 hens.
We would like you to share your favorite backyard bird each
month. Please send your favorite bird at the end of the month to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-8777. If you would like a reminder at
the end of the month e-mail the above address.