Utah County Birders Newsletter
October 2009

    October Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    Ned's Notes
    Field Trip Report
- River Lane
Field Trip Report - DWR Raptor Watch
    Backyard Bird of the Month



Thursday, October 8th. 

Bryan Shirley, "Birding among the Pharaohs: An Adventure in Egypt"

Meet at 7:00 PM in the Bean Museum Auditorium on the BYU Campus.


October 11 (Sun), 2009:  The Big Sit, Provo Airport Dike - This will be our 8th year participating in the annual Big Sit! - We will sit in one spot out on the Provo Airport Dike all day and watch birds. We will be sitting on the southeast corner, on the dike just past the pump house. This is the southeast corner east of the new extension, not on the extension. Our record is 53 species. Last year we were able to see 45 species including Stilt Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper and Merlin. Come out and sit as little or as long as you like. We will start at 6 a.m. You can call us at 801-360-8777.

October 24 (Sat), 2009:  Provo Canyon, Sundance, and Aspen Grove - a last look for summer birds and a first look for incoming winter birds. 7:00 a.m.-12 p.m., meet at Sam’s Club parking lot, 1313 S. University Ave., Provo.

November 14 (Sat), 2009:  Loon Loop - 7:00 a.m.-12 p.m., meet at Sam’s Club parking lot, 1313 S. University Ave., Provo: Deer Creek and Jordanelle reservoirs, East canyon reservoir, and the Antelope Island Causeway if time and the birds permit.

December 19 (Sat) 2009: Provo Christmas Bird Count - Please mark you calendars. This year's Provo Christmas Bird Count will take place on Saturday, December 19th. We will gather to report our findings that evening at 6:00 pm. We'll let you know where as the time approaches. Contact Ned Hill if you are interested in participating.

December 29, 2009 :  Bluff Christmas Bird Count; date tentative, details TBA

We are actively recruiting people to lead local half-day field trips, any time, any place.  If you would like to lead a field trip or if you have any ideas for this year’s field trips, please contact Lu Giddings at - seldom74@xmission.com.

Notes From Ned's Wife

Confessions of a Birder Spouse
Part I

St. Francis of the Household
by Claralyn M. Hill

People often ask me if I’m a bird watcher too. Sometimes, they just make that assumption. I reply that, no, I’m a husband watcher. I smile at my husband’s dedication to his feathered little grandchildren as he feeds and watches and cares for them, even when it means I get frequent cleanup duty along the patio and deck, where his boisterous feathered relatives have congregated, and that a recipe for hummingbird syrup is posted in my kitchen for the many times the feeder goes dry while he’s out of town. It’s not that I mind the little creatures. I just wonder from time to time if I my husband is a reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi, especially when I find myself spontaneously singing “Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be close to you.”

You don’t believe me? Just last week our three year old granddaughter came running in from the living room and beamed, “Gwampa, thewe’s a biwd in the living woom.” Gwampa St. Francis, of course, ran in to find a tiny, live bird at the top of the window. He scooped it up in his hand—yes, scooped it up, and quickly identified it as a rare Nashville Warbler. Outside went Gwampa St. Francis with the bird and two grandchildren, to study its delicate tiny yellow and green feathers, until the warbler found enough energy to fly down into the bushes. What an amazing sight! And guess who, dusting several days later, found the silk tree where the bird had evidently resided in the house for a few days. Gwamma St. Francis of Assisi! Need I tell you how she knew?

And could it be Gwampa St. Francis who attracted the Pine Siskins to build a nest in the wreath on our front porch? All spring, we kept the wreath up, being careful not to jar the tiny nest. When the eggs began to appear, we warned all our guests. We took the back door so as not to disturb the hatching babies and waited patiently through the long fledging period. When the baby birds finally flew, I quickly removed the wreath, sanitized the whole area and cleaned up the piles of bwana on my door and threshold. Yes, baby birds do poop all over everything—where else do you think all those earthworms they beg from their parents go. Sadly, I was ignorant to the fact that birds do not abandon their nests just because they have learned to fly. On several occasions when I opened the front door, in flew the young siskins, turned back and flew out with puzzled looks on their grandbird faces.

We have also had visits inside from flickers and magpies, along with face to face confrontations at our back door with hummingbirds of several varieties. And for every tale of a bird in the house, there are several good tales of bird adventures for the hapless birding spouse away from home. Next month I’ll expound on my worldwide adventures with Gwampa St. Francis in the great outdoors.


Field Trip Report
River Lane and Swede’s Lane - September 12, 2009
by Lu Giddings

A beautiful morning to be in the field. We began with the observation platform at 4000W, moved to River Lane, and then to Swede’s Lane. While no mega-rarities were observed, River Lane produced several Nashville Warblers along with Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped, and a Wilson’s Warbler. A Common Nighthawk was also seen, as were Chipping Sparrows, Brewer’s Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, and Song Sparrows. An unexpected sighting at River Lane was a lone Lewis’s Woodpecker. Swede’s Lane also produced a few unanticipated birds, including a young female Purple Martin, a Gray Catbird, a Bewick’s Wren, and a MacGillivray’s Warbler.

Field trip participants were Yvonne Carter, Lu Giddings, Oliver Hanson, Keelie Marvel, Milt Moody, Deloy Pack, Cheryl Peterson, Leena Rogers, Tuula Rose, Alton Thygerson and Bonnie Williams

57 species were seen: Canada Goose, Ring-necked Pheasant, Clark's Grebe, Great Blue Heron, White-faced Ibis, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Swainson's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Killdeer, Franklin's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Caspian Tern, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Nighthawk, Lewis's Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Bewick's Wren, Marsh Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Sage Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch and House Sparrow


Field Trip Report

DWR Raptor Watch Day; Squaw Peak Road - September 26, 2009

photo by Eric Huish

photo by Eric Huish

by Eric Huish


I spent four hours at the DWR Raptor watch day. Many people showed up throughout the day including many Utah County Birders. Matt, KC, Milt, Tuula, Bonnie, Alona, Alton, Bart and Yvonne, forgive me if I left your name out. I bet at least 100 people stopped by. A couple of informative DWR officials hosted the watch. The highlight of the day was when a rehabilitated Ferruginous Hawk was released from the overlook with lots of on looking spectators with cameras.

We also saw some migrating raptors. Not a whole lot but we did get to see a Golden Eagle soaring below us and in the early afternoon we were treated to several Red-tailed Hawks flying over close enough for great views.

Here is the complete list of birds.
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Cooper's Hawk 2
Accipiter sp. 2
Red-tailed Hawk 10
Buteo sp. 3
hawk sp. 4
Golden Eagle 3
American Kestrel 1
Western Scrub-Jay 1
Barn Swallow 5
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Mountain Bluebird 1
Townsend's Solitaire 1



Backyard Bird of the Month

September 2009

Reed Stone - Provo
Western Scrub Jay every year when acorns mature.

Steve Carr - Holladay
California Quail - Don't see them every day but they're sure welcome when they drop by.

Alton Thygerson - Provo
Western Scrub Jay - a pair come in whenever I put out a handful or two of peanuts.

Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Western Screech-Owl

Milt Moody – Provo
My BBOM is a "White-eye-ringed Mystery Warbler" that I saw briefly but couldn't find again.

Cheryl Peterson – Provo
The Western Scrub Jays continue to delight and entertain my grandson as we throw peanuts to them. Hopefully he will soon learn to not run towards them after he throws the peanut.

We would like you to share your favorite backyard bird each month. Please send your favorite bird at the end of the month to newsletter@utahbirds.org or call Cheryl Peterson at 375-1914 (home) or 787-6492 (cell).


We are accepting 2009 dues for membership in Utah County Birders throughout the 2009 season.  If you would like to be an official member of our group and receive a handheld copy of the newsletter, do the following:

Make a check out to Utah County Birders for $15.00.  Put it in an envelope addressed to:
Carol Nelson
2831 Marrcrest West
Provo, Utah 84604

Then, drop it in the mail.  And as always, thanks for your support and a special thanks to those we never see, but who still show their support by their dues donations!