Utah County Birders Newsletter
September 2012

    September Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    President's Message
    Bird of the Month
    Field Trip Report
- Provo Airport Dike
Backyard Bird of the Month
    August Hotline Highlights


We will not have a formal meeting this month. We invite you to do one of the field trips listed below.

Change of Meeting Location - In October, we will start meeting in the UVU Auditorium. Directions will be given in the next newsletter.


Beginning birders are welcome.

Monday, September 3, 2012. 7:00am-11:00am. River Lane and Lincoln Beach in the continued search for Fall Migrants. Led by Keeli Marvel Meet at the Provo Sam's Club Parking Lot.

Friday, September 14, 2012. 7:00am-1:00pm. Antelope Island -  Led by Keeli Marvel Meet at the American Fork Main St. Park and Ride (west side of I-15 at AF Main St. exit).

Saturday, September 22, 2012. 9:00am-4:00pm. DWR Raptor watch day at the Orem Overlook on Squaw Peak Trail Road in Provo Canyon. Patti Richards (Great Basin Wildlife Rescue) will release three turkey vultures! Make your own arrangements. More information here.

Saturday, September 29, 2012. 9:00am. Hawkwatching at Squaw Peak Overlook. Led by Eric Huish. Meet at 9:00 am at the 800 North Orem Park and Ride at the mouth of Provo Canyon or later at the overlook.

Sunday, October 14, 2012. The Big Sit, Provo Airport Dike - Led by Eric Huish. This will be our 11th year participating in the annual Big Sit! - We will sit in one spot out on the Provo Airport Dike all day and watch birds. This year we will probably sit on the East side of the South Extension unless the Mudflats have dried up by this date. We will start at 6 a.m. Come anytime you like but there may or may not be anyone out there between Noon and 5:00 pm, we take a break during the slow time of the day. You can call us at 801-360-8777 .

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 Keeli Marvel at - keeli.marvel@gmail.com. 

President's Message

by Bryan Shirley, UCB President


It’s Already Fall!!??

Last month at the Utah County Birder Social a group of us were sitting around talking about birding (of course!). Somebody mentioned the 2012 Birding Challenge and everybody started talking about how many counties they had birded in, then discussion turned to how many birds everybody had total in the state. I casually said that I wasn’t sure, but inside I was worried. All year I have been working on keeping county lists, but not really paying attention to my Utah year list. I guess I assumed that if I just birded I would end up with the required 236 for the Expert Level. Well, as soon as I got home I quickly pulled out all my county lists and started adding.

I didn’t even finish adding and I knew I was in trouble. I was not even close to 236 and I realized I had some huge gaps in the checklists. I only had 2 flycatchers – Say’s Phoebe which sit on my roof all summer, and Western Kingbird. Not one empid. I only had a couple of warblers and only a couple of sparrows. Basically I realized that the groups like shorebirds and waterfowl that can be seen from my car window with my scope I did well on. All of the groups of birds that I couldn’t ID at 75 mph or required getting out of my car were seriously hurting.

I have done well with my counties, but I have seen almost the same 50 species in each county, plus a Ptarmigan in Daggett. I went through my lists and made a new list of target birds that I could still get. 236 was still possible, but it was going to require some real birding, and soon. That night I left the family home and went birding around Payson Canyon by myself. Without the 3 kids under 4 tagging along, I picked up half a dozen new year birds in about an hour.

Last week I was in Monticello for the deer hunt. I have to admit that more than once a deer spotted me and fled because I was trying to get a better look at a warbler. The deer hunt was a great success – no deer but I added a ton of new birds for my year list (and a bunch for well as San Juan County). A few of the highlights were: a once in a lifetime Roseate Spoonbill at Hite Marina (had to take a day off hunting for that one), large flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons, Evening Grosbeaks everywhere, lots of Nashville, Townsend’s, and other warblers, finding a new pair of Acorn Woodpeckers (only the 2nd time in Utah I have seen them outside of Devil’s Campground area), and even a few empids.


I still have quite a few more species to look for before I’ll make 236, but I am pretty sure I can make it now. Fall migration is picking up and already we have had some great birds – both in Utah County and around the state. If you haven’t reached whatever level of the Challenge you are trying for, you better get after it. It is still possible to get most if not all of the summer breeders, but not for long. Fall migration in Utah is awesome – tons of shorebirds and good migrant traps for passerines as well. Get out there and enjoy the great fall weather and excellent birding while it lasts!


Bird of the Month

No bird of the month this month.

If you would like to write an article for the Bird of the Month, please contact Oliver Hansen --
801-378-4771 - byucactus@gmail.com .

Click here for past 'Birds of the Month'.



Field Trip Report
Provo Airport Dike
- August 25th, 2012

Trying to spot the Green-tailed Towhee
Photo by Eric Huish

by Eric Huish

17 birders birded the Provo Airport Dike this morning. Here are some Highlights -
- An immature Sora feeding at the edge of the marsh. Seen from the east side of the south extension.
- Baird's Sandpipers and Marbled Godwits out on the mudflats at the Southeast corner.
- A Northern Mockingbird and a Sage Thrasher just east of the south extension.
- Two immature Black-crowned Night-Herons and a Green-tailed Towhee at the Southwest corner.
- 4 Sandhill Cranes flew by on the east side of the dike loop.


We saw over 60 species and all had a great time. 


Mallard 20
Mallard (Domestic type) 6
Cinnamon Teal 3
duck sp. 20
California Quail 1
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
Pied-billed Grebe 4
Clark's Grebe 8
Western/Clark's Grebe 3
Double-crested Cormorant 3
American White Pelican 2
Great Blue Heron 4
Snowy Egret 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
White-faced Ibis 40
Osprey 2
Swainson's Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Sora 2 We got to see one Immature bird feeding at the edge of the marsh.
American Coot 4
Sandhill Crane 4
Killdeer 30
Black-necked Stilt 10
American Avocet 50
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Marbled Godwit 2 On the mudflat at the southeast corner.
Baird's Sandpiper 3 On the mudflat at the southeast corner.
peep sp. 2 One distant bird with a limp and one bird with the Baird's Sandpipers looked it had a little longer bill and shorter body. Maybe a Western?
Franklin's Gull 1 On the mudflat at the southeast corner.
Ring-billed Gull 30
California Gull 4
Caspian Tern 4
Eurasian Collared-Dove 50 All at east end of the dike loop.
Mourning Dove 3
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1
hummingbird sp. 2
Downy Woodpecker 1 Heard Only
American Kestrel 3
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Western Kingbird 7
Eastern Kingbird 1
Loggerhead Shrike 1 On the south extension.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 100
Tree Swallow 50
Bank Swallow 200
Barn Swallow 30
Cliff Swallow 5
swallow sp. 500
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Marsh Wren 20
Bewick's Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Northern Mockingbird 1 Just east of the south extension.
Sage Thrasher 1 Just east of the south extension.
European Starling 20
Yellow Warbler 8
Green-tailed Towhee 1 At the southwest corner.
Brewer's Sparrow 7
Vesper Sparrow 1 On the south extension.
Song Sparrow 2
sparrow sp. 3
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Yellow-headed Blackbird 100
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 1
House Sparrow 6


Backyard Bird of the Month

August 2012

Steve Carr - Holladay
Cooper's Hawk - Dropped a tail feather onto the deck as it zoomed past.

Alton Thygerson – Provo
Cooper's Hawk and Western Screech Owl - We have an explanation for the very few backyard birds not seen for the past six weeks. Two Cooper's Hawks have been living and flying around the backyard (haven't been seen recently though) and for two straight nights a Western Screech Owl was heard and seen.

Reed Stone – Provo
Osprey & Belted Kingfisher fishing my back yard and a pair of Western Scrub Jays after acorns.

Milt Moody – Provo
Orange-crowned Warbler - I haven't had many warblers in my yard this year.

Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Calliope Hummingbird - a little immature male.

Report your favorite backyard bird each month to Cheryl Peterson at 801-375-1914 or CherylPeterson@gmail.com