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March 1999


A Dream Trip

by Darlene Amott (

On February 5th I flew out of Salt Lake headed for the trip of a lifetime. I was headed south with a BYU Tour to MesoAmerica. Although it wasn't a birding trip per se, I was armed with my binoculars and a Mexican Bird book which had been loaned to me by Lew Wilkinson. Our goal was to visit archeological ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula and in Belize. We visited twenty-four sites in twelve days. Many of the sites were partially developed and off of the usual tourist track. Most of the birds I saw were in these sites which were primarily back in the jungle.

The trip was fantastic. I was able to identify sixty species of birds, thirty-nine of them lifers. The only drawback was that the birding had to be done on the side. Unfortunately, there were no other birders in the group, but when people found out I was interested in seeing birds, they all started looking. It was very helpful to have extra eyes spotting for me. However, I know I missed many species. It is hard to identify a new bird from a bus traveling 40 miles an hour or from a boat traveling 30-35 miles an hour, but I was grateful for what I could see. Some of the guides were quite knowledgeable and were willing to tell me what I was looking at.

Among the birds I saw were Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, Black Vultures, Common Black Hawks, Roadside Hawks, an Ornate Hawk Eagle, Snail Kites, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Ocellated Turkey, Northern Jacana, West Mexican Chachalaca, Axtec Parrots, White- fronted Parrots, Mangrove Swallow, Gila Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Tropical Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Brown Jay, Green Jay, Melodious Blackbird, Black-cowled Oriole, Yellow Grosbeak, and the Bronzed Cowbird. Two real highlights were the Collared Aracari (a toucan), and the Keel-billed Toucan. You will notice that most of the birds which were identified are among the larger birds. It was almost impossible to slow down long enough to identify the small birds. I did see one hummingbird, but could not see it well enough to figure out which one it was. Needless to say that even though I enjoyed more success than I thought I would, there was much frustration as well.

If I ever have money again, a true birding trip to Belize would be high on my list. It is a birders paradise. The trip up the New River needs to be taken when I can travel slower, and stop to see each bird. Among the non-birding things we saw were a Ring-tailed Coati, a wild boar, two or three crocodiles, bats, and one snake, possibly a Boa. Save your pennies. It is a trip worth taking.


Robin’s View

by Robin Tuck (


I’m reminded of the song from "My Fair Lady" sung by Mr. Dolittle, "I’m getting Married in the Morning." The song reeks of anticipation, mixed with a little reluctance and some fear of change. Well, I’m not changing and I’m already married, but in just a few days, Julie and I will be off. I’m going birding in Hawaii in just a few mornings. By the time you read this, I’ll be back, but right now, I am reeking with the anticipation of a long-time dream about to be fulfilled.

Julie went to Hawaii years ago with her mother (while I stayed home and took care of our two boys) and has always wanted to go back with me and the rest of the family. The expense precludes taking the whole family, but she and I are going this next Tuesday.

We are going birding, birding in Hawaii. So we looked at the books and read a little about where we would go and what we might see when we got there. This is great. We are going with several other birders and the trip is all planned and I’m not driving. I won’t get us lost, I won’t make wrong turns and I won’t lead others astray. Someone else will do all that and I’ll just ride in back. In fact, the biggest decision I’ll make is what to order for dinner. I’ll walk where I’m told to walk and I’ll look where I’m told to look. With any luck, I’ll see what I’m shown and I’ll have a great time.

Of course, like any other birder, I’ll see the wonderful scenery, the mountains and ocean, the lush forests and sandy beaches. I might even sneak a peek at what Julie tells me not to look at when we are at the beaches. This is going to be a wonderful trip. And I’ll see bunches of new birds. Today I can’t even pronounce their names, but I expect to come back an expert, expanded, with a whole new vocabulary.

I wish you were all going. We’d have a great time.

PS. We did have a great time!


Alta Field Trip

by Dennis Shirley
February 4, 1999

A quick trip up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta by fourteen Utah County Birders on Thursday afternoon, February 4, 1999 didn’t produce a great deal of species but found our target species at Susan Thomas’ feeder. A storm was approaching the Salt Lake Valley from the west, and a bitter wind was howling in the canyon.

But, in spirt of the elements, our group hunkered down around Susan’s feeder and at close range saw Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Hairy Woodpecker, Cassins Finch, Clark’s Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, Pine Siskin, and Dark-eyed Junco. Not bab for 15 minutes of birding!

On our way back down the canyou, we pulled off at the LDS Church Vault parking lot and with careful searching with glasses and scopes, found a small band of Rocky Mountain Goats which winters on the perpendicular cliffs across the canyon. This was a first for many of our group.

Back in the valley, we proceeded to Dimple Dell Park at 1300 East. There, again, it wasn’t the best of weather, but we spent a short time down in the canyon park. Ther best creature wer found was a red fox – seen as it snuck away on the hillside.

Participants: Lois Clark, Milt Moody, Bonnie Williams, Tuula Rose, Reed Stone, Kay Stone, Bob Parsons, Eric Huish, LeIla Ogden, Carol Jean Nelson, Junece Markham, Judy Jordan, Lew Wilkinson and Dennis Shirley.

Species seen


Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (Code 4)
Hairy Woodpecker*
Clark’s Nutcracker*
Mountain Chickadee
Pine Siskin
Cassin’s Finch
Dark-eyed Junco

Dimple Dell:

Black-billed Magpie
Northern Flicker
Black-capped Chickadee
Western Scrub-Jay
Ring-billed Gull


European Starling
Rock Dove

* New species for Utah County Birder’s Field Trips


Antelope Island Field Trip

Saturday, February 6, 1 999
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Species Seen:

Canada Goose Northern Pintail Northern Shoveler
Common Goldeneye Ruddy Duck Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier American Kestrel Merlin
Chukar Ring-billed Gull Northern Flicker
Loggerhead Shrike Black-billed Magpie Common Raven
Horned Lark Rock Wren Marsh Wren
American Tree Sparrow Song Sparrow White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird Western Meadowlark


Bear River MBR/Farmington Bay WMA Field Trip

Saturday, February 20, 1999
10:00 a.m, - 4:00 p.m.

Species Seen:

American White Pelican Great Blue Heron Tundra Swan
Canada Goose Green-winged Teal Mallard
Northern Pintail Northern Shoveler Gadwall
American Wigeon Canvasback Redhead
Common Goldeneye Barrow's Goldeneye Bufflehead
Bald Eagle Northern Harrier Red-tailed Hawk
Merlin Prairie Falcon Ring-necked Pheasant
California Quail American Coot Ring-billed Gull
California Gull Herring Gull Thayer's Gull
Rock Dove Loggerhead Shrike Black-billed Magpie
Common Raven Horned Lark Marsh Wren
European Sparrow Song Sparrow Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark Yellow-headed Blackbird House Sparrow


Utah County Birders Summary of February 1999 Field Trips

by Dennis Shirley

Code # Abundance Status Alta 2/4/99 (1/2 day) Antelope Island 2/6/99 (1/2 day) Bear River MBR & Farmington Bay 2/20/99 (whole day) Totals (Different Species
1 CP 13 13 (chukar) 21 32
2 CS   5 7 (Yellow-headed BB) 9
CW 1 2 3 3
CT   1 5 5
3 UP        
4 US        
UW 1 (Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch 2 (Merlin, Tree Sparrow) 2 (Merlin, Herring Gull) 4
5 RP        
6 RS        
RW     2 (Barrow's Goldeneye, Thayer's Gull 2
7 O        
Total Species 15 23 40 55
Total Score 19 37 71 94
Total Species for January/February, 1999 = 83


Utah County Birders Field Trip Schedule

April - May - June 1999

Date Length Location Target Species *Depart/Return
April Sat. 4/10/99 1/2 day Santaquin Vicinity 3 Accipiters D = 6:00 a.m.
Blue Grouse R = 1:00 p.m.
Thur. 4/15/99 1/2 day W. Utah Co. Short-eared Owl D = 6:00 a.m.
Burrowing Owl R = 1:00 p.m.
Sat. 4/24/99 1 day TBA D = 6:00 a.m.
R = 6:00 p.m.
May Sat. 5/1/99 2/3 day Bear River MBR Shorebirds D = 5:00 a.m.
R = 2:00 p.m.
Fri, 5/7/99 1 day Kauffman Ranch Migrant Passerines D = 5:00 a.m.
R = 6:00 p.m.
Fri.-Sun., 5/14 - 5/16 3 day Washington Co. SW Utah Specialties D = 7:00 a.m.
Beaver Dam Slope R -- 6:00 p.m.
Mon. 5/24/99 1/2 day Spanish Fork Canyon Flycatchers D = 5:00 a.m.
R = noon
Sat. 5/29/99 1/2 day Utah Lake Shorelines Migrants D = 6:00 a.m.
R= l:00 pm
June Fri. 6/4/99 1/2 day Provo Canyon Gray Catbird D = 5:00 a.m.
Fox Sparrow R = 1:00 p.m.
Swainson's Thrush
Wed. 6/16/99 1/2 day Jordanelle Woodlands Least Flycatcher D = 5:00 a.m.
American Redstart (!) R = 1:00 p.m.
Fri. 6/18/99 1/2 day Nebo Mt Flammulated Owl D = 8:00 p.m.
Saw Whet Owl R = 1:00 a.m.
Fri-Sat, 6/25-6/26 2 day Uinta Basin Yellow-billed Cuckoo D = 7:00 a.m.
Ouray NWR Mt, Plover R = 8:00 p.m.

*All departures and returns at Bean Museum, BYU Campus


Zion's National Park & Vicinity Field Trip Itinerary

Friday, March 19, 1999

9:00 a.m. Depart: Bean Museum Parking Lot
9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Drive to Minersville Reservoir west of Beaver for a quick stop to look, at Snow/Ross Geese and assorted waterfowl and shorebirds,
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - lunch at City Park in Cedar City. Either pack a lunch or purchase one at a fast food store. Bird around park.
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Drive to Red Cliffs Recreation area.
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Check area around Leeds, Red Cliffs Recreation Area, and Quail Creek Reservoir. Target Species: Roadrunner, Lucy's Warbler, White-throated Swifts, Black, Phoebe, Peregrine, Loons.
4:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Drive to Zion, checking birding areas along the way--Virgin River riparian, Rockville, Springdale. Target species: Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Gambel's Quail, Roadrunner, wood-duck
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Check into *Motel/Campground and bird around Springdale (ponds) area
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.- Dinner in Springdale,
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Owllng: Target Species: Spotted Owl, Pygmy Owl

Saturday, March 20, 1999

5:30 a.m. - 6:30 a.m. - Be ready to go at 5:30 a.m. Owling: 5:30 a.m. - dawn - East Zion. Target species: Spotted Owl Breakfast should be packed prior and eaten on the move or at a roadside stop.
7:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Birding upper reaches of East Zion. Target species: Pygmy Nuthatch, Western Bluebird, Red-crossbill, Common Bushtit, White-breasted Nuthatch, Juniper Titmouse
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Birding Zion Canyon and Springdale side canyons. Target species: Rufous-crowned Sparrow.
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. - Lunch in Springdale/Zion's Canyon. Picnic.
2.:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Drive to Washington area.
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Birding Washington area (maybe St. George if time permits). Target species: Crissal Thrasher, Abert's Towhee, Roadrunner, Verdin, Green Heron.
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Grab a bite to eat and drive back to Utah County.,
10:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. - Arrive Utah County

* I have reserved a block of rooms at the Bumbleberry Inn in Springdale. Cost is $57.00/room based on double, occupancy. Room has one queen-size bed. Room with two queen-size beds is $62.00. All are non-smoking rooms (except in case of fire). We will eat dinner at the Bumbleberry Inn Restaurant Saturday night.

What to Bring:

Birding materials (Binocs, scope, fieldguides, checklist)
Warmish Clothes - It's still March! Zion's will be cool in the dark! Dress in layers to be shed as day warms up.
Breakfast and Lunch Snacks - Don't plan to spend time shopping, it's much more convenient for the group to already have brought your snacks.
Personal Gear: Toothbrush, hairbrush (except for Milt and I) $, Keep your gear at the minimum! You can get along without for 36 hours. A single overnight handbag is more than you need.

This itinerary is based on the assumption of good weather and, of course, rare bird sightings in the areas. Hope you, can go! It will be fun!!


State Hotline Highlights


Alan Condie - A "BEWICK'S" SWAN was seen at BRMBR on Thursday, 01/28, at the southwest corner of the auto tour loop.

R.J. Adams, Kevin Johnson, ColbyNeuman - About 30 GRAY PARTRIDGE were seen about 3/4 mile from the exit on the White's Valley Road, 01/30.

Cal Robbins; Joel & Kathy Beyer, Mark Stackhouse - A male EURASIAN WIGEON was seen at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (BRMBR) on Saturday, 02/13 (CR). It was seen again on Monday, 02/15(J&KB, MS).

Larry & Ron Ryel, Mark Stackhouse - A flock of 100-200 DUNLIN was seen at BRMBR on Monday, 02/15. They could be seen flying over the mudflats well out into the main impoundment from the the auto-tour loop, just west of the southeast corner. This may be the largest group of Dunlin recorded in Utah.


Tom Driscoll (of NC), Mark Stackhouse - A LONG-EARED OWL was seen roosting just east of Mendon on Saturday, 02/06, in the same area where they have been reported since December.

Larry & Ron Ryel - At a feeder in Hyde Park, north of Logan, a HOARY REDPOLL was seen on the morning of Friday, 02/26. The bird came to the feeder between 7:30 and 8:00 am, and was in a flock of GRAY-CROWNED and BLACK ROSY-FINCHES. This is the first report of a Hoary Redpoll in Utah. An immature HARRIS' SPARROW was seen at the same feeder in Hyde Park on Tuesday, 02/16.

Ron Ryel - A WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was seen grazing with a SNOW GOOSE and several Canada Geese in a field on the north side of Airport Rd., about 1 mile west of the Logan-Cache Airport on Monday, 03/01.


Dick Hurren - About 30 BLACK ROSY-FINCHES were seen near the Visitor's Center at Antelope Island State Park on Thursday, 01/28.


John Spence - A YELLOW-BILLED LOON was found on Lake Powell on Monday, 02/01, not far from where a Yellow-billed Loon wintered from 1993-1996 (JS). The bird was sighted in the upper part of Warm Creek Bay. It was seen from a boat, but the bird may be observed from shore by driving to Crosby Canyon on the road from Big Water, and hiking to the east over a small divide along the north side of the flooded part of Crosby Canyon.


Terry Sadler - Along Oak Creek, above Oak City near Delta, a SAW-WHET OWL was heard calling almost all night long on Thursday, 02/25. The bird was about three-tenths of a mile below the campground. A WINTER WREN was seen along the creek about a mile above the locked gate on the same day.


Arnold Smith - A GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE has been visiting a feeder at a home in Morgan

through much of the winter. It was most recently seen on Friday, 02/05. A HARRIS' SPARROW continues to visit the feeder at the Morgan Wastewater Treatment Plant. It was also seen on Friday, 02/05.


David Jensen; Arlene Sant The ROSS' GOOSE at the International Center west of the Salt Lake airport continues to be seen, with reports of the bird from Saturday, 01/30 (DJ) and Sunday, 01/31 (AS). The bird is in the pond to the south of the Hilton Hotel.

Roy Adams - A hybrid "Yellow-shafted X Red-shafted" Flicker was seen in a yard north of Olympus Cove at the base of Grandeur Peak on Sunday, 01/31.


Alona Huffaker - About 35 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS were seen in the Provo Cemetery on Thursday, 01/28.

Cheryl Peterson - A THAYER'S GULL was seen on the ice in the harbor at Utah Lake SP on Monday, 02/08.

Dennis Shirley - An immature COMMON MOORHEN was seen at the oxbow area along the Provo River Parkway, about 1 mile upstream from the mouth of the river, on Tuesday, 02/09. Four moorhens, 2 adults and 2 immatures, were also seen at Powell Slough.

Joel & Kathy Beyer - The FIELD SPARROW which has been at the Lindon Boat Harbor since Saturday, 01/09, continues to be seen. It was reported most recently on Sunday, 02/14. The bird was about 30 yds. north of the gate. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW continues to be seen visiting a feeder in Provo, with a report from Sunday, 02/14.

Calleen Cox, Dana Green, Julie VanMoorhem - A SWAMP SPARROW was seen at the Lindon Sewage Treatment Plant on Sunday, 02/28. It was seen on the west side of the ponds. A SNOW GOOSE was seen at the East Bay Golf Course on Sunday, 02/28.

R. J. Adams - At Warm Springs WMA, two LONG-EARED OWLS were found roosting in the Russian Olives, and a PEREGRINE FALCON was seen flying overhead on Sunday, 02/28.


Josh Kreitzer - Several ROSS' GEESE have been at the pond on the Southgate GC in St. George for the past month.

Merrill Webb - At Lytle Ranch in Beaver Dam Wash on Monday, 02/15, 3 CACTUS WRENS, 2 BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHERS, 3 PHAINOPEPLA, and 7 WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were seen.

Arnold Smith - A GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW was found along the Virgin River Parkway, about halfway between the Santa Clara River mouth and Bloomington, on Tuesday, 02/23. It was near where one was found on the St. George CBC in December.


Keith Morlock - RED CROSSBILLS were seen again in the Ogden Cemetery on Sunday, 01/31. Ogden Cemetery can be reached by taking 20th East from Washington Blvd.