Utah County Birders Newsletter
American Dipper - photo by Paul Higgins
Downy Woodpecker - September 3, 2008 - photo by Cheryl Peterson
River Lane - 3 September 2008
by Cheryl Peterson
Bonnie Williams, Eric Huish and Cheryl Peterson birded River Lane in hopes of finding migrants, especially warblers. While we enjoyed the birds we saw, it was disappointing that we didn’t see as many birds as we had in previous years.
We saw 5 warblers: Orange-crowned, Nashville, Yellow, Yellow-rumped and Wilson’s. Two Wood Ducks on the Spanish Fork River were a nice find. There were also at least 5 Downy Woodpeckers. Other bird that we saw or heard: Canada Goose, Ring-necked Pheasant, Sandhill Crane, Caspian Tern, Mourning Dove, Common Nighthawk, Western Wood-Pewee, Plumbeous Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Black-billed Magpie, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin, Gray Catbird, European Starling, Chipping Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-headed Blackbird and American Goldfinch.
Utah County Birders in Maple Canyon - September 6, 2008 - photo by Eric Huish
Sanpete County - 6 September 2008
by Yvonne Carter
In attendance on this field trip was Lu Giddings our leader, with Steve Carr, Merrill Webb, Bart and Yvonne Carter, Ned Bixler, Eric Huish, and Joe Marty. Seven great guys and one woman. Hey Gals! Where were you?
Leaving the Springville Walmart parking lot and heading south to Nephi on the I-5, we headed east out of Nephi on Highway 132 to Sanpete County. Turning off to the right into the farm lands west of the main highway, we birded along the way to the Fountain Green Fish Hatchery. And then further south through the town of Fountain Green, Freedom and Wales to the Wales Reservoir. Doubling back we went up Maple Canyon which is west of Freedom (look for the Freedom cemetery sign).
We observed Canadian Geese, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Eared Grebe, American White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, White-faced Ibis, Turkey Vultures, Northern Harrier, Swainson's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Marbled Godwit, Baird's Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Ring-billed Gull, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Say's Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Plumbeous Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Stellar's Jay, Black-bellied Magpie, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Violet-Green Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain Bluebird, Robin, Sage Thrasher, Starlings, Western Tanager, Green-tailed Towhee, Brewer's Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Lazuli Bunting, Western Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbirds, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.
We had great weather, perfect temperatures and a good number of birds as you can see. A good time had by all!
Utah County Birds atop Hawk Knoll - September 27, 2008 - photo by Keeli Marvel
Squaw Peak Road - Hawk Watching - 27 Sept 2008
by Eric Huish
Utah County Birders met at the Orem 8th North Park-and-Ride at 9:00 a.m. On our way to the Squaw Peak Overlook we stopped at Canyon View Park and Hope Campground. At Canyon View Park, in Provo Canyon, we saw nothing. I think I heard a Magpie. We walked the loop at Hope Campground where there were a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and lots of campers.
The birding was slow so we went out to watch hawks which was the main purpose of the field trip. We stopped at the DWR Raptor Watch Day at the Squaw Peak Overlook. They had seen a flock of Pinyon Jays fly past about an hour before we got there. We didn't stay long at the DWR Raptor Watch Day. We headed to the hilltop above the parking area. We could see the crowds that came to the raptor watch throughout the day. It looked like it was a popular event.
We watched for hawks for several hours from our hilltop. We were hoping for a Broad-winged Hawk. Didn't see one. I checked birdnet when I got home and saw that there were a few Broad-wings seen by hawk watchers in the Wellsville mountains. I guess the Wellsvilles were the place to be that day. We did see many Sharp-shinned, Cooper's and Red-tailed Hawks, some Golden Eagles, a couple Kestrels, a Merlin and three Turkey Vultures. There were Wild Turkey in the area. A few turkeys flew off the hillside near us and into the oaks. We also had Mountain Bluebirds land in a nearby tree for good viewing. The scenery was awesome.
12-14 September 2008
by Eric Huish
The Utah Ornithological Society's Annual conference is always a great event. With field trips, paper presentations on a variety of bird related subjects and an evening social with a keynote speaker, the conference is a great place to learn more about birds. This year's conference was held in Ogden at Weber State University and hosted by the Wasatch Audubon Society.
Friday Field Trips
Fall Maples at Maple Campground - September 12, 2008 - photo by Keeli Marvel
I went on the Snowbasin field trip led by Les Talbot. We reached snowbasin at 8:45 a.m. and walked the trail out to the Maples C.G. It was a beautiful crisp mountain morning. We could hear Clark's Nutcrackers up on the mountainside and a Red-breasted Nuthatch off in the forest somewhere. Down the trail we came across a group of young Juncos. The birding was kind of slow until we came across a small flock of birds at the campground that included Yellow-rumped, Wilson's and Townsend's Warblers, Black-capped Chickadees and a Downy Woodpecker. On our way back to the car we got a good look at a Sharp-shinned Hawk and found a few Red-breasted Nuthatches and a Cassin's Vireo in a pine tree. The Cassin's Vireo was a lifer for a couple people in the group.
We made a stop at Middle Fork WMA. There were very few birds here. Best bird was an American Kestrel.
Our last stop was at the North Arm Natural Area. Here we had Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks and a Swainson's Hawk soaring overhead. Along the trail we saw Orange-crowned Warblers, another Townsend's Warbler along with a few other passerines.
Bear River Refuge
Conference attendees met at the Bear River Refuge visitor's center at 8:30 a.m. for a tour of the closed-to-the-public D line of the refuge led by Betsy Beneke. I didn't go on this trip but the response I got most when asking people about it was "lots of brown Ducks". Their best birds were a few Great Egrets and a Solitary Sandpiper. They also saw the 'regulars' one would expect on a tour of the refuge. Tuula Rose told me about one of her favorite sights of the day; several Turkey Vultures on fence posts (closer than she had ever seen before) on both sides of the vehicle as they drove through the fields to the D line of the refuge.
This trip was led by Mort and Carolyn Somer. I didn't hear how this trip went. All I heard is that due to the wind they ended up at the Cemetery. I'm sure they got some good birds.
Friday Evening Social
Several UOS members met at Jeremiah's Restaurant for an evening social with hors d'oeuvres, beverages and a keynote speaker. Dr. Dale Clayton, Professor of Biology at the University of Utah, spoke to us about feather lice and other bird parasites. It was a very fascinating presentation. I know you think I'm just saying that, but it was fascinating! Ask anyone who was there.
Saturday Bird Walk and Paper Session
Birding Beus Park - September 13, 2008 - photo by Eric Huish
Jack Rensel led a bird walk around Beus Park early Saturday before the paper session started. Jack informed us of the history of the park and how the Wood Ducks got there. As we were walking around the pond a couple of large objects came crashing down from the tops of the trees to the forest floor. Beus Pond is a small pond surrounded by tall trees. Two Canada Geese had hit the treetops as they were coming in for a landing and fallen straight down through the trees. We watched a Goose walking through the forest towards the pond. The goose seemed okay. It was a comical sight.
There were many birds around that morning. Downy Woodpecker, Western Wood-pewee, Plumbeous Vireo, Western Scrub-Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Robins, Townsend's Warbler, Wilson's Warblers, Western Tanagers, Song Sparrows, House Finches and up-close beautiful views of a Black-crowned Night-Heron. Very good for a short early morning walk.
After the bird walk we headed to the Shepherd Union Building at WSU for a continental breakfast and paper presentations by graduate students and researchers on a variety of subjects. The paper session is always the most interesting part of the UOS Conference. We had breaks during the day when the attendees could socialize. I enjoyed meeting people I only know from posts on the listserv and birders I don't see very often.
Sunday Field Trip
North Arm Natural Area
Birding North Arm Natural Area - September 14, 2008 - photo by Keith Evans
There were two field trip choices on Sunday, meeting at the same place and time. Seven people showed up. Since it was not a large group, we decided not to split up. Kristin Purdy led us to the North Arm Natural Area then to Jefferson Hunt Campground. The North Arm was full of birds. Across the field from the parking area was a tree full of Turkey Vultures (15) and a pair of Sandhill Cranes flew in as we started down the trail. There was so much bird activity it took us 45 minutes to walk the short distance from the parking area to the first bridge over the stream. At the bridge the birds were still thick enough to keep us planted in one spot. Between the parking lot and the bridge we heard a 'Solitary' Vireo and saw a Downy Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo, Black-capped Chickadees, American Robins, Cedar Waxwings, Orange-crowned Warblers, Virginia's Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers, MacGillivray's Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warblers, many Chipping Sparrows, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrows, Lazuli Buntings, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch and American Goldfinch.
We eventually broke ourselves away from the bridge and walked the trail through the thick vegetation, then up along the hillside where we could get a view of the area from above. Along here we were able to find Northern Flicker, Dusky Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch (heard only), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Spotted Towhee, Fox Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow. On our way out we heard and, after a second of searching, saw a pair of Pinyon Jays flying over. It was an unexpected sighting for this area. Other birds seen in the North arm area included Canada Goose, Black-billed Magpie, Sharp-shinned Hawk and Swainson's Hawk.
At Jefferson Hunt Campground we walked a trail out to a spot where we could overlook a distant Pineview Reservoir. We saw 17 species. Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher and Western Wood-Pewee were added to our day list.
It was a great weekend.
Painted Bunting - photo by Paul Higgins
by Milt Moody
With the addition of four new species so far in 2008 the number of officially documented species seen in Utah is a whooping 440. That makes 14 new species added since the publication of the official state checklist by the Utah Bird Records Committee in 2004, and there may be more to come.
The four new species added so far this year are the Painted Bunting that showed up at Fish Springs in the west desert, Cape May Warbler seen at Red Cliffs Golf Course in St. George, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at the Antelope Island Causeway and a Pine Warbler discovered at Lytle Ranch in southwestern Utah. And there may be more coming before the year is out. Right now there are six sight record for new Utah species under review by the Records Committee. Several of them look like they may have a pretty a good chance to be accepted increasing our state list by several more. A record for a Whip-poor-will is looking very good (or should I say sounding very good since the main documentation is from sound recording) and a well documented Purple Finch record is looking very promising as well. (Several previous Purple Finch sightings have been submitted but have not had sufficient documentation to be accepted until maybe this one). Other possibilities are Gilded Flicker and Baird’s Sparrow records which are in the second round of reviews, which indicates that there were significant questions in the first round on these records. Records for Mississippi Kite and Mountain Quail are still in their first round so a possible new Utah species may come from one of these records as well. (These records can be found and perused on the Records Committee pages of the utahbirds.org website).
The 1998 checklist for Utah listed 406 species. About 10 years later, 34 new species have been added. It looks like the increased number of birders, better communication, more easy-to-carry digital cameras producing easy-to-share pictures have contributed to this boom in new birds for our state. How many more species could we see in Utah? Well, if the following list of “unconfirmed species” is any indication, we’re not done yet.
Sixteen species that have been reported in Utah but not confirm: Tufted Duck, Leach's Storm-Petrel, White-tailed Hawk, Bar-tailed Godwit, Laughing Gull, Black-tailed Gull, Iceland Gull, Parakeet Auklet, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Sprague's Pipit, Blackburnian Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Olive Warbler, and Varied Bunting.
Backyard Bird of the
Steve Carr - Holladay
Little Corella - My new backyard in Australia. Actually, an escaped cage bird of the Cockatoo family.
Yvonne Carter - Highland
The chickadees are taking over the finch feeders.
Lynn Garner - Provo
Western Scrub-Jays returning to my platform feeder.
Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Orange-crowned Warbler - skulking in the bushes.
Milt Moody - Provo
California Quail - wandering pretty friendly herds.
Cheryl Peterson - Provo
Bruce Robinson - West Jordan
Western Wood-Pewee - Another sign of fall (dangit!)
Tuula Rose - Provo
A female Wilson's Warbler busy in the bushes, occasionally flitting over to the grass catching little moths.
Reed Stone - Provo
Western Scrub-Jay - The only time I see Scrub-Jays in the yard is when the Oak tree is full of acorns.
Bonnie Williams - Mapleton
Ring-necked Pheasant - he stays around here all year.
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.