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May 1997

When en the monthe of May is comen
And I heare the fowles sing
Farewell to books and my devociones
--Geoffrey Chaucer


Matt's Message
by Matt DeVries (

There are many reasons that we are a bird club. The one that comes most quickly to my mind is that we are a community built around a shared interest: birds. Hopefully, our activities are built on both enjoying birds and building our community. One way we have is through our Saturday field trips. We have had several successful field trips this year that have enabled us to enjoy each other’s company and to experience new places and new birds.

Now that the weather is warming and our neo-tropical visitors are arriving, I think it is a good time to add a new type of field trip to our activities. Beginning this month, we will hold bird walks in the evening. This will allow us to get together in a casual setting close to home. We will keep a leisurely pace and visit familiar places: Rock Canyon, the Provo River Trail, and the South side of campus.

I hope these walks will increase our appreciation of our local birds and of the unique people that make up our club. The first walk will be on Wednesday, May 21 and the second on Thursday, June 5th. We will meet at the Bean Museum at 6:00 p.m. and travel together to avoid parking problems. On May 21, we will be visiting the mouth of Rock Canyon. (I am hoping to have Green-tailed Towhees and Black-and-White Warblers cooperate and meet us there. They’re not always reliable, but they will sometimes make an appearance.)

These walks are meant to be relaxing, sociable, and educational. Come prepared to enjoy the wonder of spring. And, don't forget your binoculars.


May Meeting
by Dennis Shirley

The May meeting will be held on Thursday, May 15, at 7:00 p.m. in the Bean Museum at Brigham Young University. Mark Bromley will be the featured speaker.

Mark recently returned from a field trip to the Dry Tortugas, an island on the southernmost end of the Florida Keys, but still considered part of North America. Mark will report on his field trip to this famous area. (He and Merrill Webb planned this trip for a year.)

Mark is a well-known birder in Utah, and has birded across the state, the country and the world, including Costa Rica and Belize. He is planning a trip to Kenya, Africa, this summer.

Mark has been a biology teacher for 20 years, mostly at the Waterford School. Mark resides in Sandy, Utah, with his wife and six children.


Robin’s View
by Robin Tuck (


This month's article, "The Value of Drawing," is found in the Robin's View section of this web site.


Field Trips
by Ned Hill (

May 10: International Migratory Bird Day. Merrill Webb and the Utah County Birders will conduct a Utah County-wide bird count.

June 13-15: New date for the trip to Lytle Ranch, in southern Utah near St. George. We have reservations for the campground for Friday and Saturday nights. It holds 25 people. Target birds: Vermillion Flycatcher, Costa's Hummingbird, Phainopepla, Green Heron, Common Black Hawk, Ash-throated and Brown-crested Flycatchers, Summer Tanager, Hooded Oriole, Lesser Nighthawk, White-winged Dove, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Bell's Vireo, Cactus Wren, owls.

Summer sometime? We are also interested in planning a trip to southeastern Arizona sometime this summer. How many of you would be interested? We would probably be gone about a week and visit such places as: Madera Canyon, Ramsay Canyon, Cave Creek Canyon, Sonora Desert Museum, Patagonia, Guadalupe Canyon. If you haven't been birding in Arizona, you can expect to see about 60-75 life birds. It is one of the most exciting birding trips in the country!

If you have other ideas for field trips, contact Ned Hill at 375-2417 or 375-2419, or send e-mail to


Report on the
Ouray National Wildlife Refuge Field Trip
April 26, 1997

by Ned Hill (

Four a.m. came very early--especially since we had helped a Cub Scout Pack learn about birds and see their very first owls only a few hours before. Nevertheless, the thrill of an all day birding trip to one of Utah's best birding areas with good friends tends to push sleep from the mind. Joined by four carloads of other birders waiting in the Bean Museum parking lot, we sallied forth shortly after five with CB radios at the ready to communicate any interesting birds along the way.

We drove through the landslide up Provo Canyon and then on to Duchesne while witnessing a beautiful pink and blue sunrise. The first bird of note was a newly arrived Swainson's Hawk sitting on a power pole. Our first birding stop was Pelican Lake, about 20 miles outside Roosevelt. We had hoped to find Eurasian Wigeon but were unsuccessful. We did find Western Kingbird, American White Pelican, Snow Goose, Common and Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, dozens of Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Eared Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Bufflehead, Redhead, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Greater (with the iridescent green head) and Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Snowy Egret and other common waterfowl. Dozens of Yellow-headed and Redwinged Blackbirds were setting up territories.

We learned that Ouray National Wildlife Refuge was hosting an "open house." That explained the long lines of vans and busses at each observation point along the way. Many scout organizations were using this to culminate "bird month" in scouting. Ouray is a relatively new refuge, having been built in the late 1960's to mitigate the Flaming Gorge Dam construction. It has a series of holding ponds for migrating waterfowl and some areas of riparian woods. Because of the cool spring weather, the migration has been delayed by a week or so. Rangers told us that many more migrants had arrived by this time last year. We saw very few migrant songbirds with the exception of House Wren, Barn and Tree Swallows, Marsh Wren, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. There was, of course, the usual collection of blackbirds, Black-necked Stilts, Willet, Killdeer, Great Blue Heron and porcupines! It seemed as if every taller tree had a resident porcupine stripping bark from the branches. One of the more memorable sights of the day was of a Great Horned Owl chick, all white and fluffy, sitting in an open nest not far from a parking area. The mother was nearby carefully concealed in a tangle of branches. In the same area was a Red-tailed Hawk nest with a screaming mother perched above.

Taking a welcome break at refuge headquarters, we got to see a Harris Hawk tethered to a pole. It had been injured and was being shown by a falconer who stated that our group was the only one who knew what kind of bird he had. The find of the day came in the early afternoon as we walked down a road in the Leota Bottoms. After seeing several lumbering Great Blues, an American Bittern sailed into view. We watched it glide to a landing on the edge of a pond and then stealthily walk along the bank searching for fish in the shallow waters. We all had a wonderful look at this relatively rare (but regular) Utah resident. Some in the group spotted another bittern a few dozen yards from the first but it quickly slipped into the reeds where it became one with the vegetation.

The trip home produced several Osprey and Common Loons near Starvation Lake. We had never seen an Osprey in a juniper tree before. In the Strawberry Valley we found two Sandhill Cranes feeding along the edge of melting snow near a thawed field filled with American Pipits, Horned Larks, Long-billed Curlews, White-faced Ibis and American Crows. In the distance we heard more cranes.

While waiting for the rock slide traffic light in Provo Canyon, a beautiful Belted Kingfisher bounded up the river--our 70th bird of the day and a nice ending to a perfect birding day. Some in the group found nearly 20 new species and all found Ouray NWR to be a site worthy of many return trips.


Bear River Bird Refuge to Host May 17 Open House

On Saturday, May 17, the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge will host an all-day open house. Among the day’s activities will be a bike tour, a Dutch oven barbeque, and a presentation featuring such notables as Congressman Jim Hansen and author Terry Tempest Williams. Here is the day’s schedule:

8-10 a.m.: Guided birdwatching tours and an organized bike tour along the Refuge auto route. (Both events begin at the old Refuge Headquarters site at 8:00 a.m.)

10-noon: Participate in wetland and wildlife activities at stops along the Refuge tour route.

Noon-2: Lunch at old Refuge Headquarters provided by Knights of Columbus (Hamburgers and soft drinks available for purchase.—Refuge staff and volunteers visit with public.— Falconry exhibit of live birds.—T-shirt and mug sales.

2-4 p.m.: Wetland and wildlife activities along the Refuge tour route.

5-6 p.m.: Dutch oven BBQ Supper at Young Intermediate School, 830 Law Drive, Brigham City. Tickets must be purchased by May 14th. (There will be wildlife art displays and door prizes.)

6-8 p.m.: Presentation hosted by Robert Valentine, featuring Congressman Jim Hansen, Author Terry Tempest Williams, Jon Bunderson (Friends of the Refuge), and Consortium West (Review Public Use Development Plan).

Tickets can be purchased in Brigham City, Logan, Ogden, and Salt Lake City. In Salt Lake City, tickets are available at the Wild Bird Center, 4898 S. Highland, Holladay.


Membership in the Utah County Birders is open to any interested person. Dues are $12 per year, although no one will be excluded if unable or unwilling to participate. Send dues to Beula Hinckley, 2067 N. 420 E., Provo, UT 84604

Executive Committee

President Matt DeVries ( 226-0958
Past-President Robin Tuck ( 377-8084
President-Elect Merrill Webb 224-6113
Secretary-Treasurer Beula Hinckley ( 377-3443
Programs Dennis Shirley 423-1108
Field Trips Ned Hill ( 375-2417
Membership Barbara Whipple ( 226-3931
Newsletter Weldon Whipple ( 226-3931

Telephone Hotline: 375-2487, 377-8084
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