Utah County Birders Newsletter
November 2012

    November Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    President's Message
    Bird of the Month
    Field Trip Report
- The Big Sit, Provo Airport Dike
Backyard Bird of the Month
    October Hotline Highlights


November 8th, 2012  - 7:00 PM

Steve Carr will give a presentation on his birding trip to Antarctica. It will be at the UVU campus, room SB268, in the Science Building.

Note new meeting place. Room SB268, in the Science Building at UVU at 7:00 pm. Here is a link to a Map - http://www.uvu.edu/futurestudents/pdf/UVU_Map_1.25.pdf - The Science Building is the one labeled SB.  The 'UCCU Center Visitor Lot' will be open and free to park in after 5:00 pm.


Beginning birders are welcome.

Saturday, November 17, 2012: Winter Ducks and Loon Loop - 8:00 a.m.-2 p.m. or later. Meet at the parking lot at the mouth of Provo Canyon: Jordanelle Reservoir, Rockport SP, East Canyon Reservoir, and the Antelope Island Causeway if time, weather, and the birds permit. Bring a scope and a state park pass if you have one.

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


Birding Hurricane Sandy

It has been about a week since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in New Jersey, New York, and all along the East Coast. All week I have been watching the news coverage of the flooding and damage that occurred affecting millions of people throughout the Eastern USA. What about birds? Well, I just spent about an hour looking through some of the Rare Bird Alerts for NJ, NY, PA, and other states affected by the storm. Besides the damage to the cities and people, storms like this can destroy large areas of habitat desperately needed by the birds (like pine trees used by Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, beaches for nesting Piping Plovers, etc). Obviously I would never hope that a storm like this would ever happen, but I have to admit that I am a bit jealous of the exciting birding during the storm (assuming I was not dead or trapped in a flooded city I mean).

Hurricanes frequently push birds that are regularly only seen far out at sea into rivers or harbors as they try to find a safe place to ride out the storm. Hurricanes also blow species far from their regular occurring ranges. If a hurricane occurs during migration, fallouts of huge numbers of passerine species can occur (that is why Jack Black was so excited in the Big Year). Hurricane Sandy was probably so big that the damage and danger prevented a lot of birders from getting out, but the areas where people could get out did not disappoint. There are reports of great birds coming in all along the hurricane route.

Here is some of the stuff I found:

• There is an article in the Newburyport Daily News (Massachusetts) about birds after the storm. They had a Dovekie in a stairwell that was taken to a rehab location and later released. The same rehab also had a Leach’s Storm Petrel. The article also reported large numbers of Northern Gannets, Red-throated Loons, and even an Atlantic Puffin in a nearby river.

• Ebird has reports of Bridled Terns, South Polar Skuas, and Manx Shearwaters.

• A rehab center in Pennsylvania had a probable Herald Petrel brought in – a rare bird anywhere in the USA.

• A Red-tailed Tropicbird was brought to a rehab center in New Jersey. This is only the 2nd record for the state.

• One birder in NY reported Leach’s Storm Petrel, Band-rumped Storm Petrel, Pomerine Jaeger and Red-Phalarope in a river, but apparently later somebody saw a Peregrine Falcon pick the Leach’s Storm Petrel off the water (another person reported another Storm Petrel get picked off by a Harrier).


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
The Big Sit
- October 14, 2012

Dennis Shirley and Sunset at the end of the Big Sit

by Eric Huish

The Provo Airport Big Sit was covered from 6:18 am to 2:30 pm and again from 5:14 pm to 7:23 pm. A little over 10 hours total time where at least one person was there. This was our 11th year participating in The Big Sit. We sat at the Southwest Corner of the dike loop this year. On a Big Sit you pick a spot and spend the day sitting within a 17 foot circle and only count birds you see from that one spot. Due to low water levels we moved the circle from the Southeast corner to the Southwest corner because there was no water at the Southeast corner, the mudflats were all dried up. We were able to count 49 species from our circle this year. Our record is 58 species in one day (2007). We didn't see any uncommon birds this year. Weather was calm and sunny all day.

Sit Participants - Milt Moody, Keeli Marvel, Lyle Bingham, KC Childs, Alona Huffaker, Bonnie Williams, Dennis Shirley, Eric Huish.

Species List -
Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Virginia Rail, American Coot, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Herring Gull, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Kestrel, Merlin, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Marsh Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin, European Starling, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, American Goldfinch


Backyard Bird of the Month

October 2012

Steve Carr - Holladay
Spotted Towhee - Usually don't see them this early in the fall.

Mark Stackhouse – Mexico
Well, I had two new yard birds this month, bringing the yard list up to 167 species. Northern Jacana was number 167, but species 166, a Bat Falcon zooming over at dawn, was the most exciting, and my favorite of the month.

Alton Thygerson - Provo
Dark-eyed Juncos - Came in with a snowstorm. I've had very few birds in my backyard since about July.

Milt Moody – Provo
A male and female Spotted Towhee have probably come for the winter.

Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Townsend's Warbler - Yard lifer #103! I spotted it out the window while I was eating supper.

Leila Ogden – Orem
If I remember to put peanuts out, I get Scrub Jays. I love to see them.

Cheryl Peterson – Provo
Dark-eyed Juncos and Downy Woodpecker.

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