Utah County Birders Newsletter
Upcoming Field Trips
Bird of the Month
Field Trip Report - Burraston Ponds
Field Trip Report - Squaw Peak Road
Field Trip Report - Monterey, California
Backyard Bird of the Month
September Hotline Highlights
Thursday, October 10th, 2013 - 7:00 PM
Hutchings Museum of
For our October Meeting we will be meeting at the Hutchings Museum in Lehi on Thursday October 10th. We've been invited back for a free tour and special presentation. Meet at the Museum at 7:00 pm (55 N. Center St. Lehi, Utah 84043) Hutchings Museum Website - http://www.lehi-ut.gov/discover/hutchings-museum
12 October, 2013 (Sat). The Big Sit, Provo Airport Dike - Led by Eric Huish. This will be our 12th 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 sit on the Southwest corner of the Airport Dike Road. Eric Huish will be out there from 6:00 am to Noon and again from 5:00 pm to sunset. Neb Bixler and Douglas Mead will be out there for an afternoon shift. Please come join us anytime you would like. You can call us at 801-360-8777. Here is a link to a map of the Provo Airport Dike - http://www.utahbirds.org/counties/utahco/provoairport.html We will be sitting at the Southwest Corner.
Captain’s Log: September 2013
by Keeli Marvel
October Captain’s Log: Books you should read if you’re a birder
This month I’d like to deviate a little from my usual trip accounts and mention a few books that are on my reading list because I enjoy reading about others who share our passion for birding. These are books that I’ve either read, or have on my short list to read.
1- The Big Year by Mark Obmascik: This book is the epitome of the bird watching experience. It is written by a journalist turned birdwatcher who became fascinated by the story of 3 men trying to do a big year. If you saw the movie and loved it, you should know that many of the details of the real story were changed for the big screen, but you should definitely read this book.
2- Kingbird Highway by Kenn Kaufman: Kaufman is the author of a series of field guides on everything from birds to butterflies and is on the short list of who’s who in the birding world. This book is an entertaining story of his journey across the country (by any means possible) as a teenager on a big year adventure.
3- Season at the Point by Jack Connor: This book is on my next to read list but has been highly recommended. It is a chronicle of the massive numbers of birds that pass by Cape May Point, New Jersey, during fall migration and the season (or two or ten) the author spent there.
4- Feather Quest by Pete Dunne: The story of Pete and Linda Dunne and their epic birding year adventure. This book is also on my next to read list, but I read the first few pages and I’m already hooked.
5- Birds Over America by Roger Tory Peterson. Peterson is the father of the modern field guide for birding and this book gives a peek into his love and passion for birding.
6- Good Birders Don't Wear White: 50 Tips From North America's Top Birders edited by Lisa White. This book is full of short, sometimes funny, essays on birding advice from the biggest names in birding.
7- The Life of the Skies by Jonathan Rosen: Rosen says that everyone is a birdwatcher whether or not they have realized it yet. This book is a chronicle of his birding adventures interwoven with stories of birders, naturalists, and poets of the past. This book is not quite the lighthearted easy read like the Big Year, but I enjoyed Rosen’s insights and his depth of understanding of history and how he ties it into the present day birdwatcher.
photo by Milt Moody
by Tuula Rose
[Rerun article from September 2007]
If prizes were given in the bird world for taking over continents, the Eurasian Collared-Dove would win the “Expansionist Award”, beating the starling, the English sparrow and even the cattle egret wings down. A hundred years ago this species was found mainly on the Indian subcontinent with its range extending slightly into Europe in Turkey. In the early 1900s it started expanding its range into Europe reaching the British Isles by 1950. Today they are found above the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia. According to my Finnish bird guide they arrived in 1955 and now there are several hundred nesting there even reaching the far north. Interestingly, the Finns call this bird the Turkish Dove.
On this continent, the saga is even more amazing. Eurasian Collared-Doves were introduced (for whatever reason!) into the Bahamas in the 1970s and they soon spread out on the islands. What happened next is unclear. Somehow they migrated, without assistance, from the Bahamas to Florida, where they started expanding unnoticed because they resemble the Ringed Turtle-Dove. In the mid-1980s ornithologists realized that the suddenly prolific and quickly spreading “turtle doves” they were watching were actually Eurasian Collared-Doves.
The Ringed Turtle-Dove has been a popular cage bird and escapees have established small populations in Florida, California and a few other southern states. These two doves look very much alike. They are uniformly pale brown, and both have a black collar on the back of the neck. The RTD is smaller and has a white belly and undertail coverts, while the ECD shows a darker grayer belly and undertail, also showing more black at the base of the tail. Their songs are quite different. The collared-dove’s song is a coarse rapidly delivered three-part cooing while the turtle dove has a hollow rolling two-part song.
Since neither of these doves migrates, there were no strays or accidentals to watch for from Europe. Our popular field guides never even listed or showed pictures of the Eurasian Collared-Dove before the eighties. The 1983 edition of the National Geographic Field Guide mentions the ECD in passing when describing the RTD. The first picture I found among my field guides is in the 1997 edition of All the Birds of North America. Even the 1990 3rd edition of Peterson Field Guide does not have a picture.
The very first report of ECD in Utah was by Rob Fergus and Matt DeVries in Orem in the summer of 1997. In 2000 this dove was seen at Fish Springs, of all places, and an official sight report to the Records Committee was made by Taylor Hicks. In September of 2001 Dana Green and others from Salt Lake were at River Lane by Utah Lake and identified a Eurasian Collared-Dove. Several doves were seen around a farm house at River Lane during that and the following year. They were thought to be domesticated doves after someone asked the farmer who claimed them to be his doves! Only after several reports came in from all around the state did we realize that the ECD was indeed a wild bird taking over our state and the entire continent. Experts are saying that only time will tell how the spread of this non-native species is going to effect the populations of native doves and pigeons. They also fear that it might become a pest for seed crops. It is interesting to see this amazing spread on maps generated by The Great Backyard Bird Count. Go to http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ and select: Explore the results and Maproom to see the maps for several years and the multi-year animation.
Both sexes of the Eurasian Collared-Dove are similar. They are usually solitary or in pairs. The nest is made of twigs, stems, roots and grasses, and placed in trees. The clutch is two white slightly glossy eggs. A pair can raise several broods in a breeding season.
Interesting facts about pigeons and doves in general:
1. Since they eat mainly dry seeds and grains, their need for water is greater than that of birds who feed on insects, worms, grubs or fruit. They drink up to 15% of their body weight per day. Unlike any other North American birds, they are able to suction water into the throat without raising the head. Other birds have to scoop water into the bill and tip the head up to let water run down the throat.
2. Both the female and the male are able to produce a substance called “Pigeon milk” or “Crop milk”. It is secreted by the lining of the crop and fed to chicks for 5 to 10 days after hatching before being fed on regurgitated seeds. Rich in fats and proteins, the crop milk meets the nutritional needs of young chicks in the same way that insects and animal protein sustain the young of most other bird species.
-Articles on www.Birdsource.org by John Schmitt and Wesley M. Hochachka.
-The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior by David Allen Sibley.
-Rare Bird Sightings – Comprehensive List on www.utahbirds.org
If you would like to write an article for the Bird of the Month, please contact Eric Huish - [email protected]
Our leader leading us down a wooded trail at Burraston Ponds
Photo by Eric Huish
Field Trip Report
Burraston Ponds - 14 September 2013
by Eric Huish
Utah County Birders met on a nice Saturday Morning for a trip to Burraston Ponds
(Juab County) led by Bryan Shirley. We saw several birds at Burraston Ponds. My
favorite were two Soras out in the open giving us great views and a fly-over
Peregrine Falcon. Full list below.
On our way back we made short stops at Mona Reservoir, Goshen Canyon, and Warm Springs WMA. Mona Res had lots of Canada Geese and a raft of Ruddy Ducks but was otherwise pretty dead. Goshen Canyon was slow too. Best sighting there was a couple of Golden Eagles. At Warm Springs our most interesting bird was a Juniper Titmouse that seemed out of place without any junipers around.
More info on Burraston Ponds - http://www.utahbirds.org/counties/juab/BurrastonPonds.htm
Info on birding Warm Springs - http://www.utahbirds.org/counties/utahco/WarmSprings.htm
Burraston Ponds, Juab, US-UT
Sep 14, 2013 7:34 AM - 10:04 AM
Comments: UCB Field Trip. We walked along several trails in the area.
37 species (+6 other taxa)
California Quail 1 Heard Only
Ring-necked Pheasant 1 Heard Only
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Great Blue Heron 6
Caspian Tern 2
Mourning Dove 5
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 1 Heard Only
Peregrine Falcon 1 Flew over. Turned around and flew back over just to give us all a good look!
Western Wood-Pewee 2
solitary vireo sp. 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Black-billed Magpie 1 Heard Only
Common Raven 2
Bank Swallow 50
Barn Swallow 1
swallow sp. 200
Marsh Wren 2 Heard Only
American Robin 17
Gray Catbird 1
European Starling 5
Cedar Waxwing 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 4
Nashville Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 10
Wilson's Warbler 2
warbler sp. 3 Yellowish warblers. Didn't get good look.
Green-tailed Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 2
Brewer's Sparrow 1
Spizella sp. 4 Brewer's/Chipping.
Song Sparrow 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Western Tanager 2
Lazuli Bunting 1
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Western Meadowlark 8
blackbird sp. 20
House Finch 1
American Goldfinch 1 Heard Only
Mona Reservoir - Juab Co. UT, Juab, US-UT
Sep 14, 2013 10:20 AM - 10:28 AM
Comments: UCB Field Trip. Stationary count overlooking the reservoir from the parking area by the dam.
7 species (+3 other taxa)
Canada Goose 460
Ruddy Duck 30
Clark's Grebe 2
Western/Clark's Grebe 1
American White Pelican 7
Great Blue Heron 3
Larus sp. 1
Caspian Tern 1
Barn Swallow 8
sparrow sp. 1
Warm Springs WMA - Utah Co. UT, Utah, US-UT
Sep 14, 2013 11:06 AM - 11:45 AM
Comments: UCB Field Trip.
Virginia Rail 1 Heard Only
Sandhill Crane 2 Heard Only
Black-billed Magpie 1
Barn Swallow 2
Juniper Titmouse 1 We were surprised to see one in this habitat.
Marsh Wren 1 Heard Only
American Robin 10
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Western Tanager 2
House Finch 8
Field Trip Report
Squaw Peak Road and Overlook - 21 September 2013
by Eric Huish
UCB birding Squaw Peak Road
Eagle being released at Squaw Peak Overlook
This morning 10 Utah County Birders met and birded
along Squaw Peak Road then stopped at the Squaw Peak Overlook parking lot to
hawkwatch with the DWR's Watchable Wildlife "Raptor Watch Day". Birds were
scarce along Squaw Peak Road in the morning. Best birds were Cassin's Vireo and
a few Clark's Nutcrackers. Full list below.
Hawkwatching at the overlook was fun. It was very windy. Hawk numbers weren't huge but we did get to see several hawks and we got great close views of most of them. In the afternoon some rehabilitated raptors were released - a Golden Eagle, 2 Swainson's Hawks and a Great Horned Owl. I left early so the list below isn't the full list -
More info on Squaw Peak Road - http://www.utahbirds.org/counties/utahco/SquawPeakTrail.htm
Squaw Peak Rd, Utah, US-UT
Sep 21, 2013 8:30 AM - 10:37 AM
Comments: UCB Field Trip. We birded along Squaw Peak Road above were the paved section ends. Birds seen hawkwatching at the overlook were entered on a separate list.
10 species (+2 other taxa)
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Northern Flicker 2 Heard Only
diurnal raptor sp. 1 Golden Eagle???
Cassin's Vireo 1
Steller's Jay 2
Clark's Nutcracker 4
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Gray-headed) 2
sparrow sp. 2
Squaw Peak Overlook, Utah, US-UT
Sep 21, 2013 10:38 AM - 2:05 PM
Comments: Hawkwatching. Stationary count at Squaw Peak Overlook parking lot. DWR Watchable Wildlife Event.
12 species (+1 other taxa)
Turkey Vulture 1
Golden Eagle 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper's Hawk 7
Accipiter sp. 9
Red-tailed Hawk 10
White-throated Swift 6
American Kestrel 3
Steller's Jay 4
Western Scrub-Jay 1
Black-billed Magpie 2
Barn Swallow 8
Spotted Towhee 1
Sea lions on pelagic trip
Snowy Plover on Carmel
Sunset and Brown Pelicans
at Point Pinos
Utah County Birders Pelagic
Trip Group with our trip leader Debi Shearwater front and center
Field Trip Report
Monterey, California - 25-29 September 2013
By Keeli Marvel
Thirteen bird watchers met over the course of five days for birding in the
Monterey area of California. The focus of the trip was a Shearwater Journeys
Pelagic trip traveling out of Monterey Bay, however, various members of the
group were able to bird the days around the trip as well.
On Thursday, several members of our group met up and traveled north from Monterey to the area of Moss Landing to spend the day there birding. Our first stop was Moon Glow Dairy where our target bird, Tricolored Blackbird, was quickly attained. After stopping just inside the front gate to scope out the flocks of blackbirds and to nab our target bird, we continued along the road to an overlook that looks down on Elkhorn Slough. There our highlight birds were a multitude of shorebirds, terns, basking sea lions, a White-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-necked Phalarope, Pelagic Cormorant, Anna’s Hummingbird, and an up-close view of a Red-winged Blackbird next to a Tricolored Blackbird for a good comparison. Moon Glow Dairy is privately owned but generously kept open to the birdwatching community. For more information on how to get there and etiquette for birding the Dairy, please go to the following website: http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/moonglow.html
Our next stop was Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. There we hiked around a 2.4 mile trail that went through a diverse range of habitats including dry oak forests, Eucalyptus groves, and estuary/slough mudflats. Our highlight birds included multiple Acorn Woodpeckers in a granary (bunch of trees full of holes where the woodpeckers stash food), a pair of Wrentits, California Towhee, California Thrasher, Townsend’s Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Chestnut-backed Chickadees in the Eucalyptus grove, and several species of shorebirds in the slough. We also saw Bat rays swimming around in the water of the slough.
We spent the rest of the afternoon birding around Moss Landing Wildlife Area and north jetty where we saw a Brandt’s Cormorant, mixed flocks of Marbled Godwits and Willets, Heerman’s Gulls, hundreds of Elegant Terns perched on the jetties, more Sea Lions, and a small group of Sea Otters grooming, snoozing, and playing in the harbor. We finished the day off with a quick trip back to Monterey where we drove through Pacific Grove out to Point Pinos. There along the coast we found a few Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, a Snowy Egret balancing on a kelp bed riding the waves of the surf, and a steady stream of Brown Pelican, Cormorants, and other far off birds flying around the point.
Friday was the major event of the entire trip- a pelagic trip with Debbie Shearwater and Shearwater Journeys. Despite some sea sickness in the group (it can happen to anyone!) we were able to get some good birds and some great views of Humpback whales, Risso’s and Pacific White-sided dolphins, Dall’s Porpoise, Sunfish, Sea Nettle (jellyfish) and a strange sighting of what possibly was a self-propelled autonomous research drone cruising around in the ocean. Our highlight birds of the trip (some with better looks than others) included Common Murre, five species of shearwater (Pink-footed, Flesh-footed, Sooty, Bullers, and Manx), Tufted Puffin, Black-footed Albatross, Rhinoceros Auklet, Surfbirds on the jetty, Pigeon Guillemot, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers, South Polar Skua, and Surf Scoters. At one point we located a huge feeding aggregation of whales, sea lions, and birds that Debi said were probably feeding on huge schools of anchovies, sardines, and possibly squid. Pretty cool!
Saturday we finished our trip to Monterey by meeting up with the Monterey Audubon Society for a field trip around Carmel River Lagoon. We birded around the beach for an hour or so where we located a Whimbrel along the shore, and at least fifteen Snowy Plover hunkered down in the sand. From there, we hiked up the brush along the shore where a few of the group got looks at a Golden-crowned Sparrow. From there we continued up a trail looking down over the Carmel River and into the oak forest where highlights included another pair of Wrentits, a pair of White-tailed Kites perched in the distance, Chestnut -backed Chickadees, Bushtits, Oak Titmouse, Townsend’s and Orange-crowned Warblers, California Towhee, and another Pacific-slope Flycatcher. It was a great trip led by some really friendly local birders!
After the field trip, the group split up to chase various species. Doug went down the coast where he got to see a California Condor cruising along the coastline. The rest of the group ventured inland into the upper Carmel Valley in search of Yellow-billed Magpies. We struck out on the Magpies, but not without a fair bit of effort. We did see a few good birds, including Western Bluebirds, more Acorn Woodpeckers, a Gray Catbird, Brown Creeper, California Towhee, and Oak Titmouse. The highlight for me was a sighting of two Bobcats, and on the way back, a Tarantula walking down the middle of the road. The first Bobcat we spotted wasn’t too far off the road and we got to watch it hunt and catch its dinner (a ground squirrel or prairie dog of some kind), so that was pretty neat.
Overall I’d say we had a pretty successful trip. Everyone in our group went home with several life birds, and we really enjoyed our short time we spent in Monterey and the surrounding areas. I also enjoyed getting to know the birders in our group better as we traveled to and from Monterey and spent a couple of days birding together. Thanks everyone for a great trip!
Lyle Bingham - Payson
Western wood pewee - It stayed all afternoon, flying from its perch to catch an insect, and back to the perch in the snag.
Jeff Cooper - Pleasant Grove
Western Screech-Owl - Yard bird #72!
Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Wilson's Warbler - a bright male visited the yard.
Milt Moody - Provo
After a summer break the Lesser Goldfinches and a Spotted Towhee
or two are coming back to my yard.
Report your favorite backyard
bird each month to Eric Huish at 801-360-8777 or [email protected]
Newsletter Announcement. The Utah County Birders Newsletter is now online only.
We've decided to stop the regular paper mail version of the UCB Newsletter. This will save our club on Printing, Postage and Paper. If you would like an email notice each month when the Newsletter is posted online please send an email to Eric Huish at [email protected] or subscribe to the ucbnet mailing list. To subscribe to ucbnet just send an e-mail to [email protected]
We are willing to print the online version of the newsletter and mail it out to anyone who still wants a paper copy or who doesn't have internet access. If you know of anyone who enjoys the UCB Newsletter but doesn't have internet access please let Eric Huish or Keeli Marvel know and we will make sure they get a copy.