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November 1998


Matt's Message
by Matt DeVries (


I am getting older and, therefore more responsible. I have children, a job, and many pressing responsibilities. So, in the interest of maturity, I have resolved to curtail my dreams and be more realistic.

I made this resolution recently while pondering a list of available 1999 birding tours. The list was amazing: trekking in the Himalayas, a cruise up the Amazon, three weeks in the Lesser Sundas. Each trip paraded enticingly before my imagination.

While my head spun with the possibilities for each trip, I came to the realization that I wasn't going on one, much less all, of the trips listed. And thus, my new commitment to reality.

My first step is to publicly acknowledge that I will not see all of the birds of the world before I die. It is a difficult acknowledgment and one that runs counter to my pre-responsibility life goals. However, it is true: I will not see all of the world's birds before I die. There I said it: twice. I feel more responsible already.

So, it is now necessary to replace my old, unrealistic dreams with some more mundane goals. I am genetically a dreamer and not a goal-setter, so this won't be easy. Here goes: concrete, achievable goals.

This feels good, I have a lot to look forward to.

Now, some larger, life goals;

Granted, the kingfisher is a stretch goal, but how can I leave it of my list? It is my grail.

O White-rumped Kingfisher, creator of dreams and trigger of imagination. I will see you. I will see you and all of your kin; eighty-seven beautiful kingfisher species filling the islands of the world with color and wonder. I will see you all.

Well, there you have it, my new birding goals. I am pleased to embark on my new life of reasonable expectations and achievable goals. Lombok, here I come.


November Meeting
Steve Hedges on "Documenting Rare Birds"

Thursday, November 19, 7:00 PM, Bean Museum Auditorium

Steve Hedges, an avid birder, has been a wildlife biologist for the BLM for 24 years. He started work in Phoenix, was in Kanab for 3 years and now has been in Cedar City for the past 20 years. His work includes dealing with threatened and endangered species like the Southwest Willow Flycatcher, Spotted Owl and the Peregrine Falcon. He does regular bird inventories in Southern Utah. He is the editor of "Utah Birds", a scientific publication. And with Clayton White and Ella Sorenson is on the Utah Ornithological Society Records committee. Steve is married and has five kids.

This is a great chance to find out what to do when you discover a rare bird.


Robin’s View
by Robin Tuck (


Oasis' in the Wilderness

As we moved closer to the pond’s edge the Canada Geese eyed us warily, finally lifting off in three great tumultuous waves then circled for a few minutes in the distance. Within a half-dozen minutes the flock began to return to the pond, landing quietly in the more secluded areas. They hadn’t much real choice; the pond at Kauffman Ranch is twenty miles from any other comparable body of water. Situated well into the Great Basin Desert, Kauffman Ranch is one of a number of oasis’ for migrating birds that provide cover, food and water.

Traveling through the desert, we see occasional stands of trees situated either around a spring or some isolated farm house, finding ourselves attracted to them much as the birds are; as an inviting repast from the arduous journey. Some of these sites are well-known and managed just for the birds, such as Fish Springs, while others are relics of the past, crumbling due to time and mis-management such as Lucin. Some are the result of the works of man like the Beefmaster Ranch North of Wendover about twenty miles while others are astoundingly natural like Blue Lake, an equivalent distance south of Wendover. But they all provide islands of hope in the wasteland for us and our avian travelers.

I enjoy the clear blue lakes in the High Uintas, but I keep hearing the distant siren call of the desert, the seeming waste places of Utah and I am amazed by the diversity found there. Perhaps their beauty stands out more strikingly because of the bleakness surrounding them. But these sites keep me coming back and cause me to wander out-of-the-way roads looking for more.

The Oasis’ offer surprising birding opportunities, like the Wood Ducks at Kauffman’s, the flock of Double Crested Cormorants descending, wind rushing through their feathers to land at Gunnison Bend Reservoir. And I cannot forget the Northern Water Thrush at the salt flat’s edge near the Beefmaster Ranch or the huge flock of American White Pelicans at Antelope Island.

I caught the eye of the engineer of a west-bound train rumbling by at Lucin, and waved ‘Hello’. His look of surprise at seeing someone at such a bleak place reminded me of the uniqueness of a hobby that carries me beyond the crowd and the stadium, the traffic and the mall, and I am thankful for the warbler and the duck, the rail and hawk that tempt me onto the less-traveled path.


Field Trip: Saw-whet Owl

Ned Hill, as avid a birder as they come, has migrated to South American. Now, they say that he has business down there, but I, personally, think that he’s actually chasing birds and that he’s doing business stuff on the side. But, before he left he promised to return and take us on a field trip to see a Saw-whet Owl. Details about time and place will be coming over the birdnet and the phone tree.


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Go the website and click on any of the icons to enter the website. (Alternately you can use one of the search forms located on the website.) Then, for every purchase you make during that visit to, 5% will go to the Utah County Birders.


Little Gull Alert!
(Excerpts from a note from Mark Stackhouse)

Note the significant finds just north of us - maybe they're headed our way (or maybe you will want to go there, if you need Little Gull for a life bird). Note that the Little Gull is amongst Bonaparte's Gulls - the largest group of Bonaparte's I've seen recently was at Willard Bay, and there have been a few at the causeway. Has anyone else seen Bonaparte's (particularly in large numbers) recently? If you do see any flocks of Bonaparte's, it might be a good idea to check them for a Little Gull, as these do wander quite a bit, and there have been a number of sightings in our region recently (Colorado has reported several). I know of only a single record for Utah, at Willard Bay in Sept. of 1992.

Report sightings to:
Mark Stackhouse
Westwings, Inc.
1432 Downington Ave.
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
(801) 487-9453


State Hotline Highlights

DAVIS COUNTY - Joel & Kathy Beyers

A winter female MCCOWN'S LONGSPUR was seen on Friday, 10/16 at Farmington Bay WMA. The bird was seen in the parking area just north of the second bridge along the western dike road .


A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW were seen in a field behind Recapture Reservoir on Monday, 10/12. Recapture Reservoir is located between Monticello and Blanding on US Highway 191. Another WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was seen behind the sewage treatment ponds in the town of Monticello.

UTAH COUNTY - Merrill Webb

A GREEN HERON was seen along the Provo River on Saturday, 10/17. The bird was sighted about one mile upstream from the mouth of the river.

Reed Stone

Four WOOD DUCKS were seen at the Provo Airport on Monday, 10/12. They were in the canal on the west side of the airport near the pump house.


A BLUE JAY was seen in the town of Mantua on Sunday, 10/25. The bird was in the RV Park near the reservoir, and later flew to some shrubs at the edge of the reservoir.

DAVIS COUNTY - Bill Fenimore, Gary & Lynn Elwine

An OLDSQUAW was seen along the Antelope Island Causeway on Saturday, 10/24. The bird was seen on the south side of the causeway just west of mile marker 3.

Kieth Evans, Jack Rensel

On Antelope Island itself, a WESTERN BLUEBIRD, rare in northern Utah, was seen at Buffalo Point on Tuesday, 10/27.


A PACIFIC LOON was seen in the pond at the Tooele exit from I-80 on Thursday, 10/22. The bird was seen in the pond about halfway down the exit ramp.

UTAH COUNTY - Cheryl Peterson; Alan Godwin, Yvonne Stroup;

Two reports of WHITE-THROATED SPARROW came from Utah County this week. One was seen just south of Utah Lake SP along the road which goes around the Provo Airport on Saturday, 10/24 (AG,YS). The other was reported coming to a feeder in Provo (CP).

Cheryl Peterson

A WINTER WREN was reported from a trail near Canyon Glen Park in Provo Canyon on Tuesday, 10/27. To get to the spot where the bird was seen, go through the park and take the trail to the left just past the restrooms, and go down this trail until a dirt path intersects from the left. The wren was in this area.


At Quail Creek Reservoir on Sunday, 10/25, a PACIFIC LOON, a COMMON LOON, 3 HORNED GREBES, and a SURF SCOTER were seen. The scoter was probably an immature female.

WAYNE COUNTY - Alan Schmierer

A BROWN THRASHER, first seen on 10/14, was seen again on Tuesday, 10/20 along SR 24 about 5 miles west of Torrey. The bird has been seen and heard within about 100 yards of the second crossing of the Fremont River west of town.

WEBER COUNTY - Ingrid Payne

A BLUE JAY has returned to a feeder in Pleasant View where one spent most of last winter. The bird was seen on Monday, 10/26 and Tuesday 10/27. It has been visiting the feeder early in the morning, and sporadically through the day. To get there, take exit 352 from I-15, turn east on 2700 North, go to the end at 1000 West, turn north to the end at Pleasant View Drive, turn east for one block, and turn north on 900 West. Go north until you reach a gate. You can either park here and walk to the house, or call Ingrid Payne at 782-1787 to open the gate. The bird has been visiting feeders at the first house on the left through the gate.

DAVIS COUNTY - Nora Alvie, Mark Stackhouse, Susan Thomas, David Wheeler; David Jensen;

Joel & Kathy Beyers

All three Scoter species have been seen along the Antelope Island Causeway this past weekend. On Friday, 10/03, three immature female SURF SCOTERS were seen at several points on the south side of the causeway between mile marker 2 and the island (NA,MS,ST,DW). On Saturday, 10/31, a female SURF SCOTER was seen by the second bridge (closest to the island) (DJ). Three female SURF SCOTERS were again seen on Sunday, 11/01, on the south side of the causeway; two between mile markers 1 - 2, and one at mile marker 4 (J&KB).

Joel and Kathy Beyers

A female BLACK SCOTER was seen about 1 1/2 miles from the island on the south side of the causeway on Sunday, 11/01, and a female WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was seen at mile marker 4.


At Gunnison Bend Reservoir in Delta, a number of SNOW GEESE and a HOODED MERGANSER were seen on Monday, 11/02.

SALT LAKE COUNTY - Denise Harges

A female ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD has been coming to a feeder in the Avenues section of Salt Lake City. The bird has apparently been visiting the feeder since about Tuesday, 10/26. The bird was photographed and positively identified on the morning of Thursday, 11/05 (Mark Stackhouse). The bird is most easily seen in the afternoon at 881 East 18th Avenue.