Utah County Birders Newsletter
Thursday, September 14th, 2017: Bean Museum, 7:00PM
Our meeting will be a focus on migration. In preparation for our upcoming hawkwatch field trip we will talk about migration and focus on some of the species that we may see during migration.
Address for the Monte L. Bean Museum is 645 East 1430 North, Provo, UT http://mlbean.byu.edu/
Saturday, September 16th, 2017: Squaw Peak Hawkwatch
Migration Hawk Watch with Hawkwatch and GSLA starting at 10am at the Squaw Peak lookout (accessed from Provo Canyon). Here are the event details with a map: https://hawkwatch.org/participate/calendar/migration-sites/350-hawkwatching-at-squaw-peak
If you're planning on going, PLEASE REGISTER for the trip on the event page (it's free) so that we have contact information for everyone planning to attend should we have to cancel or change plans due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
Utah County Birders
Captainís Log: September
by Keeli Marvel
Hello friends! I was hoping to have an awesome story to tell you about new birds seen on my most recent trip to Glacier National Park, but sadly, I got totally skunked! Itís been awhile since Iíve bombed on every single one of my target birds. I blame the abnormally warm August weather and the wildfires currently ravaging Montana, but also, bad luck sometimes just happens, right? Right? Maybe itís just me. Hah! I guess Iíll tell you what I was hoping to find but didnít. My husband and I spent two days in Glacier NP. The first day we spent on one of the famous Red Bus Tours. One of our old UCB members, Doug Mead, has been driving the tours the last couple of summers in the park.
Keeli with Doug Mead in Glacier National Park
Our tour was the Mountain Majesty tour which drove up the Going to the Sun Road from the Apgar Lodge with our turn around point at Two Dog Flats Grill on the other side by Lake Mary. This was hands down the best tour Iíve ever been on in a National Park, and Doug has a gift for storytelling! It was so great to see him and, while we didnít see much in the way of birds on our tour, we did see Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep and a bear and the most amazing scenery with a fascinating narrative from Doug describing the geology and history and biology of the park. Doug gave me pointers for birding the next day, so the next morning I headed back into the park from the East side. My first stop was at the overlook for Goose Island on Lake Mary on the East side of Glacier NP. There I saw Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees and House Finches. From there, I drove up Going to the Sun Road to the burned area around Sunrift Gorge where I hiked a short way up the trail looking for Black-backed Woodpeckers. No luck. Dead quiet actually, but the gorge itself is beautiful.
Remnants of the 2015 burn near Sunrift Gorge Sunrift Gorge
Then, I headed up to Piegan Pass for a short hike into the high altitude scraggly conifers to look for Boreal Chickadees. I found a Stellerís Jay, some White-crowned Sparrows and one very skulky warbler that was either a Nashville or a MacGillivrays. But, no Boreal Chickadees. Lots of quiet. I pulled off at most of the turnouts on the way back to listen for birds, but it really was strangely quiet. I guess thatís the way it is sometimes with birding in August.
I just heard actually that they closed the Lake McDonald lodge in the park and
shut down the tours right after we left because of the fire, which is
unfortunate! I guess we got lucky that we got to see what we did. Even with the
heat and the smoke from the fires, the views were unforgettable. I highly
recommend a visit to Glacier, and taking Dougís tour if heís back there again
In other news, Iím writing this before jetting down to St. George for a quick overnight stay. Iíll report back if I see anything interesting in the way of birds down there. Migration has started! Keep your eyes to the skies and Happy Birding!
Photo by Jerry Liguori, taken in the Goshute Mountains, Tooele County, UT 1999
By Machelle Johnson
It seems to me that there have been more sightings of Northern Goshawks this year than in recent years, or maybe itís because more and more people are using eBird. Unfortunately I havenít been one of the lucky ones.
This beautiful accipiter is one that I would really like to see and watch. Thereís something about the blue-gray coloring, the broad eye stripe, the red eye, and the overall bad-boy look to this bird that makes it intriguing to me. It is the size of a Red-tailed Hawk with a smallish head, a long neck, a long tubular body, and a long broad tail. Overall gray Ė darker gray above, pale gray below with dense barring on the breast. It is considered an Ďuncommon but widespreadí raptor of northern and higher-altitude forests, and a permanent resident in most of Utah.
They are stealthy predators that watch for prey from a perch and then attack with quick, agile flight, even through dense trees or cluttered understory. Pete Dunne says ďthis perch-hunting raptor has little patience. Hunts by alternating short flights and periods of perch-hunting that commonly do not last longer than 10-15 mins. Generally hunts low, taking perches in the understory level. Using surprise, Goshawk may glide to a kill, but accelerates quickly if detected, often crashing through brush in the process. If unsuccessful, pursues prey tenaciously both in the air and not uncommonly on foot.Ē Wow, wouldnít that be something to watch! (One time I saw a Sharpie take a Robin in the air, it took it right to the ground, in the snow, and sat on it for a second, then it took off with it. Amazing!)
We are so lucky to live in Utah and have such a wonderful variety of habitats and birds! It is truly awesome to me to think that I can drive up to the mountains in the morning and out to the lake in the afternoon and evening, and see so many different and amazing birds and wildlife. Facebook and eBird have changed the birding game by getting information out quickly when rare and exciting birds are spotted. I donít know about you but I am often Ďskunkedí when I Ďchaseí something thatís been reported, but in reality, a bad day birding is better than a good day at work any day right!!
References: Pete Dunneís Essential Field Guide Companion, allaboutbirds.org
If you would like to write an article for the Bird of the Month, please contact Machelle - firstname.lastname@example.org
No official reports from the August field trips.
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