Utah County Birders Newsletter
February 2001


Wednesday the 21st at 7:00 PM 
in the Bean Museum Auditorium 
on the BYU Campus.

Dana Green will present:

Dana will report on a trip she and Letitia Lussier went on in the fall of 1999. 
She has a video and will show areas visited and birds seen. 
It should be both entertaining and educational.


Saturday, February 24th. 
Progressive Bird Feeder Outing 
Meet at the Provo Temple parking lot at 8:00 A.M. 
We will be visiting the bird feeders of five of our members and socializing as we go. 
Our first stop will be to Lois Clark's feeders, then Carol Nelson's, Reed Stones, Bonnie Williams' 
and we'll end at Dennis Shirley's.


Saturday, March 10th 
Snow Goose Festival and Fool's Creek 
Meet at the Provo Temple parking lot at 6:00 AM

The Bird Stops Here
by Dennis Shirley

Someone asked the other day why it was the "good" birds always seemed to show up here, referring to Utah Valley. I don't know why, but at the same time I thought of the plaque President Harry S. Truman had on his oval office desk: THE BUCK STOPS HERE. I'm not sure what the connection was. Maybe it just struck me as sounding similar. 
     Now we all know Utah Valley is a good place to live, but what attracts our feathered friends to stop, or stay here? First, from a standpoint of varied habitats, we have a wide diversity, from open water and shorelines, open fields and weed- choked ditches, to residential neighborhoods (with lots of feeders) and scrubby bench lands. But this isn't enough. It sounds almost like any area along the Wasatch Front. So why do the BIRDS stop here? I'll tell you why! It's because of us, the UTAH COUNTY BIRDERS. I'm convinced each area of the state has its "good" birds, but its true that here in Utah Valley we have more than our share. Why? Its more than habitat! We have good (I won't say the best for fear of alienating our friends-but!!), active, reporting, birders. That makes a big difference. 
     The Utah County Birders is a relatively new Utah birding club. But in our short existence, we have become known as a group that gets things done, has great meetings and field trips, and has the best network of alerting its members of birds in the area. Continued thanks are in order for those in the past who have set things up and followed through. 
     As we start a new year of adventure (birding and otherwise) lets all do our small part to continue to make our club the best there is, and have fun doing it. Yes, the bird (maybe even the buck) does stop here, and its our job to find it!


Robin's View

Common Birds 
by Robin Tuck

A birder once suggested we make a list of common birds that we simply ignore and not count. I pondered this idea for several years, even attempting to make this list several times. He suggested we include 50 to 60 species on this list.
     I was never able to cut that deeply because I started listing birds I enjoy seeing and counting. I listed Starlings, House Sparrows, American Coots and Mallards. When I got to the Mallards, I was thinking about the "welfare ducks," the ones that come toward you at the local parks, not the ones who flee away, but I didn't know how to separate them on my list.
     So my list of birds to ignore includes three and a half species.
     When I put together the Year 2000 Birding Contest, little did I know how important those common birds would be. I found myself excited to see a Starling in some counties. Quite the opposite of my normal behavior.
     Several weeks ago, I visited Florida for business and had the opportunity to bird there. On one of my outings, I met another birder, also far from home, who told about a decline in the number of House Sparrows in his home town. He explained the decline was due to an eye infection they were passing around. I have not heard more about this so I don't know if it is real or if I misunderstood him.
     If we do not count the common birds such as the House Sparrow, we might not be alerted quickly enough to avert a disease migration to other species. Birds seem to have normal population fluctuations which cause us some concern, such as the dearth of Bohemian Waxwings and the abundance of Steller's Jays this winter. These population swings may not matter much, but if we don't monitor all the birds, we won't know they are happening.
     We could be the first to notice when something goes awry with the birds

From our Web Site:
A note from the webmaster


The "Texas Kid" Captured After 6 Years on the Loose

Dennis Shirley and Merrill Webb both hit the trail on the last day of January, hot on the heals of Rob "The Texas Kid" Fergus's six-year-old record for the number of species seen in January for the state Utah. Dennis, packing his trusty 12 power Nikon, headed south to Washington County with 118 species under his belt. Merrill, having already birded southwest Utah, and smack dab on the old record of 132 species, pulled out his trusty Leica and headed north to Farmington Bay, with his eye on some gulls and a bittern. When the smoke cleared the old record had fallen and with the "Texas Kid" corralled somewhere near Austin, the two bounty hunters tied at 139 species apiece, strolled down the dusty road into the sunset with the descending screech of a Red-tailed Hawk reverberation off Utah's mountain peaks. Here’s a rundown of the Month-Records for Utah:



Birder (s)



(tie) Merrill Webb and
Dennis Shirley



Mark Stackhouse



Dennis Shirley



Mark Stackhouse



Mark Stackhouse



Dennis Shirley



Mark Stackhouse



Merrill Webb



Mark Stackhouse



Steve Hedges



Merrill Webb



Merrill Webb



If you see a VERY exciting bird that can't wait till evening when most of us check our birdnets, please call Tuula Rose
home - 377-5477
work - 489-7120
If you can't reach her, the second contact person is Milton Moody -373-2795.

If you have access to e-mail, post your sighting immediately. If you are still on the spot with your cell- phone hoping that the Nutting's flycatcher won't fly too far, we can post your excitement on the birdnet. In the meantime we'll get the phone lines singing. - More details at the meeting.

Happy birding frenzy to all!

Salt Lake Birders Field Trip:

Beidaihe, China - the Migration Hub of the Orient

The area's checklist currently runs to some 389 species with only perhaps 14 occurring year-round; the rest are at least partial migrants. The diversity stems chiefly from Beidaihe's location in eastern China. It is on the edge of the Bay of Bohai, which lies in the northernmost extent the Yellow Sea, also known as the East China Sea. Several flyways converge in the area from breeding grounds ranging from northeast China to arctic Russia. It is a focal point for migrant birds passing between Siberia and their wintering grounds in the south. A major birdwatching destination with spectacular falls of migrants including most of the Asian vagrants on the No. American list. Falls of passerines can be superb as well as the possibilities of Cranes. Fall migration counts run about 222 species. The scheduled time coincides with peak fall migration.
     A tentative date is set for: September 20 to October 6, 2001 - 17-day tour. Cost is based on 10 people @ $ 2,155.00 (this includes guides, departure tax, visa and travel insurance). This price includes international flights from San Francisco via United Airlines, domestic travel, 2-3 star hotels, 3 full meals, local guide and bird guide.
     Interested people need to make a deposit in the amount of $100 to hold a place on the tour. Send deposits to: Letitia Lussier 7870 N. Cedar Way Park City, Utah 84098. Inquiries to: tel# (435) 649-6982, e-mail tollcreek@juno.com

day 01 -Depart San Francisco for Beijing (cross international date line)
day 02 -Arrive Beijing
day 03 -Beijing (visit Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven)
day 04 -Beidaihe (morning train to Beidaihe, birdwatch in afternoon)
day 05 -Beidaihe (birdwatching)
day 06 -Old Dragon Head (visit Old Dragon Head and birdwatch on the Jiao Mtn.)
day 07 -Qilihai (birdwatching)
day 08 -Beidaihe (birdwatching)
day 09 -Happy Island (boat ride to island, birdwatching and stay on island)
day 10 -Happy Island (birdwatching)
day 11 -Happy Island (birdwatching)
day 12 -Beidaihe (birdwatching)day 13 -Old Peak (birdwatching and staying overnight in area)
day 14 -Beidaihe (birdwatching after returning from Old Peak)
day 15 -Beidaihe - Beijing (afternoon train for Beijing)
day 16 -Beijing (visit Great Wall of China and Ming Tomb)
day 17 -Beijing - home

To read more on this area you can check out 2 web sights.
One is the field notes published by ABA and the other is a check list.