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October 1998


Matt's Message
by Matt DeVries (

My new boss, Deb, is from Australia. When she first arrived last week to take over, she called me into her to office for a talk. Expecting a traditional corporate greeting, I wasn't thrilled. However, as so often happens in my life, the mundane quickly turned into the compelling.

When I entered her office, she handed me a packet and said "here, check these out, I thought you might like them." Opening the packet I discovered a pile of photographs. They were pictures of her husband and her nephew, as well as other friends and family from Sydney. But, as I got toward the bottom of the pile, the pictures were of her bird feeder.

Let me tell you, yard birds in Australia have got a little pizzaz. The photos from her feeder were of a flock of Rainbow Lorikeets. These stunning birds have a blue head, orange bill, orange throat, blue chest, and green back and wings. She informed me that various parrots and cockatoos are regular visitors to her yard.

Deb and I talked about the birds of Australia for a few minutes and then we talked about local birds. I left with a great photograph and lots of warm fuzzies.

The conversation and photo have gotten me thinking. Maybe I need to consider a little trip. After all, Australia really isn't all that far from Lombok...


October Meeting
Matt DeVries on "Bird Sites of the Internet"

Thursday, October 15th, Room 280, Tanner Building, BYU

Note the different place for the October Meeting! To get to the Tanner Building from the Bean Museum: Go West on the road running South of the Bean Museum until you get to the intersection (SW corner of the Marriot Center). Turn left and go through the Right going South. It is the second building on the right past the light. It is a big gray square-looking building. Go to room 280.

Bring your favorite Web Site addresses and we’ll go birding in "cyberspace."


Robin’s View
by Robin Tuck (


Odds and Ends

"Never drink unless you are alone or with someone else" quipped W.C. Fields. Well, the same thing can be said about birding. It works fine however you do it; singly, in small groups or in medium groups. I’ve never tried large groups, so maybe the analogy breaks down there. My favorite is to go in small groups, which mostly consist of my wife, Julie and I. We do OK together, but not quite as well as we do when a truly good birder joins us. It probably doesn’t excite the great birder to be with us wanna-bees, but the learning experience of being with them is wonderful.

I have been birding with Merrill Webb and watched him ‘spish.’ Spishing the way Merrill does it is an art form; he has the birds all excited, flitting from branch to branch and tree to tree. Then he gives the back of his hand a series of juicy smacks and the birds really go crazy. Such spishing and smacking doesn’t come easy. I’ve tried it and it is lacking. No bird excitement for me. Of course, in the back of my mind I think "People will think I’m a fool," so I really don’t get into it. Lately, I’ve decided not to worry about other people’s opinions, so I’m going to spend more time spishing and smacking. (I can see it now, the little girl says to her mother, "Why is that old man making strange noises with his mouth?") Practice makes perfect.

I’m not a hundred percent behind ‘listing’ because I don’t keep a life list, but the best birders I know keep one. However keeping a month list has kept me excited about all the birds I see, even the common ones - except for starlings. Each month I am happy to notice a Robin or a Mallard, birds I have seen thousands of times. They don’t get old. It does take special care not to be sloppy though. Reviewing my month lists for the past year, I find I have missed recording the California Quail even though I have seen them every month. I fail because I don’t want to pull over and safely record the sighting. Keep a list and keep excited. Works for me.


October Field Trip: Northern Utah

Saturday, October 31, 1998

Meet at 5:00 a.m. at the Bean Museum parking lot (north side) for a full-day trip to northern Utah led by Ned Hill. We will visit Johnson Pass and the Bear River Bird Refuge.

Target birds are Sharp-tailed Grouse, Gray Partridge, Short-eared Owl, winter waterfowl, winter raptors, lingering shorebirds, etc. Bring a lunch and warm clothes. We plan on returning around 5:00 p.m.


Note from Merrill Webb
Christmas Bird Count, December 19

Due to time constraints I will be unable to fill the position of president-elect for the Utah County Birders for 1999. I suppose the current leadership will determine how the next president should be elected and will inform the membership in future meetings /newsletters.

I still intend to organize the Provo Audubon Christmas Bird Count and compile the results. The count this year is scheduled for December 19, so please circle this date and plan to participate. Let's recruit some more interested people who can be trained in the next couple of months.


Bird Words
by Milton Moody (

Review quiz from last month’s bird words.  Fill in the blank with the appropriate bird.

  1. team of _________
  2. spring of ________
  3. skein of _________
  4. sedge or siege of __________
  5. nide of ______________
  6. murder of ___________
  7. muster of ____________
  8. gaggle of ____________
  9. exaltation of __________
  10. covey of ____________
  11. congregation of __________
  12. charm of _______________
  13. cast of __________
  14. brace of __________
  15. A squab is a young ________
  16. A pullet, a young __________
  17. A poult, a young __________
  18. A gosling, a young _________
  19. An eyas, a young _________
  20. A cockerel, a young __________
  21. A cheeper, a young ____________________ or _________

Answers to "Bird Words" Quiz:

  1. Ducks
  2. Teal
  3. Geese
  4. Cranes
  5. Pheasants
  6. Crows
  7. Peacocks
  8. Geese
  9. Larks
  10. Partridges of quail
  11. Plovers
  12. Goldfinches / finches
  13. Hawks
  14. Ducks
  15. Pigeon
  16. Hen
  17. Turkey
  18. Goose
  19. Hawk or falcon
  20. Rooster
  21. Grouse Partridge Quail


State Hotline Highlights

DAVIS COUNTY - Carolyn & Mort Somer

A male WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was seen in the enclosed harbor at the Antelope Island Marina on Friday, 09/11. While White-winged Scoters are reported regularly in the fall and winter, this is a particularly early date for this species.


A male and a female HERMIT WARBLER were seen in the group camp area of the Oak Grove Campground, on the southeast side of the Pine Valley Mountains, on Saturday, 09/12.. To get to Oak Grove, take the road towards Silver Reef from the town of Leeds, and follow the signs to the campground in Dixie NF.

UTAH COUNTY - Cheryl Peterson

A COMMON MOORHEN was seen at Utah Lake State Park on Friday, 09/11, in the small pond just north of the new campground. You can see the pond easily as you drive around the campground loop.

DAVIS COUNTY - Richard Kumbler (of UK)

An immature SABINE'S GULL was seen along the Antelope Island Causeway on Thursday, 09/17. The bird was about 2.5 miles from the entrance station.

On Friday, 09/18, the SABINE'S GULL was again seen along the south side of the causeway at mile marker 4. Other birds seen there included SEMIPALMATED PLOVER and BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, both of which were near the entrance to the causeway - David Wheeler


An apparent immature INDIGO BUNTING was seen at the Matheson Wetlands in Moab on Saturday, 09/12 .

WASATCH COUNTY - Robin Tuck, Merrill Webb

An immature SABINE'S GULL was seen at Deer Creek Res. on Saturday, 09/19. It was seen from the last pull-out along Highway 189 before the turn-off to Midway.

BOX ELDER COUNTY - Keith Evans; George Barrowclough

An apparent YELLOW-FOOTED GULL was seen on Sunday, 10/04, at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (BRMBR). The bird, which was in adult plumage, was seen between 4 and 5 pm about 2/3 the way down the east side of the auto tour loop, between the restrooms and the first bend in the road to the west. It was feeding on a dead carp in the drainage canal on the east side of the road, along with several California and Ring-billed Gulls.

Photographs were taken. If confirmed, this will be the first record of this species in Utah.

A first-winter LAPLAND LONGSPUR was seen just north of Willard Bay State Park on Sunday, 10/04. The bird was feeding along the dirt road which runs east of the state park sewage lagoon. It was seen just north of the lagoon (MS&DW). To get there, take the Willard Bay SP exit from I-15 (exit 360), go west, and turn north on the dirt road opposite the state park entrance, following this road to the sewage lagoon.

SALT LAKE COUNTY - R..J. Adams; (of NY)

A pair of WOOD DUCKS were seen at the pond near Old Deseret Village at Pioneer Trail SP in Salt Lake City on Sunday, 09/27

UTAH COUNTY - Cheryl Peterson

A MERLIN was seen on Friday, 10/02, at the southwest corner of the dike road at Provo Airport .


A RED BREASTED SAPSUCKER was seen at Lytle Ranch on Tuesday, 10/06. The bird, which was apparently of the dagetti subspecies, was found in the back of the orchard, about 200 yards from the parking lot.