Utah County Birders
Newletter for September 1999
Vol. 4, No. 9

September Meeting

Tuesday, September 14th, 7:00 pm
(Please note date change due to conflict at Bean Museum)
Bean Museum Auditorium

Ann Neville, Wildlife Manager, Kennecott Wetlands Property
Ann will speak on the birds of the Great Salt Lake wetlands and her recent trip to Lake Baikal, Russia. She will also prepare us for the following Saturday's field trip.

Field Trip

Saturday, September 18th, 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Trip to the Kennecott Wetlands on the southern edge of the Great Salt Lake. Meet at Bean Museum. Ann Neville will lead us to this unique and private wildlife reserve.

Time for Flowers

by Darlene Amott

At this time of year it seems appropriate to digress a bit and talk about flowers instead of birds. In our mountains, July is the peak wild flower season. How can anyone not notice the profusion of color in the meadows and along the roadside.

In mid-July three of us took the Timpooneke road to the front side of Mt. Timpanogos hunting some specific birds. The birding was fairly good, but we couldn't help but notice the flowers. We saw Indian Paintbrush, Green Gentian, Salsify, Mountain Hollyhock, Dock, Yarrow, Cow Parsnip, Sticky Geranium, and Wild Flax among others. Julie Andrews Meadow near the Timpooneke camp ground lived up to its name. It was breathtaking. Incidentally, we went up to see, and did find, the Ruffed Grouse. The find was accidental and in a most unlikely spot, but we did find it near the Julie Andrews Meadow.

Just a few days after that trip I headed for Island Park, Idaho to spend a few days with family. Again, we roamed around looking for birds, and in the process saw the same profusion of flowers. There was one exception in the fields in Idaho. We saw field after field of Sego Lilies. It seemed strange to us that we had to go to Idaho to see Utah's state flower. Oh yes, we have Sego Lilies in Utah, but it is often necessary to hunt for them. I have never seen them in Utah in the abundance in which I see them in Idaho. They seem to be few and far between here. I am acquainted with several native Utahns who have never seen one growing. There are a few growing on the foothills just east of Provo, but I hate to talk about them lest some misguided soul go up there and pick them.

This is a colorful world in which we live. Just stand in one spot while in the mountains some day and look around you. Notice the variations of green, brown, red, yellow, pink, and blue of the hills and sky, and then notice the repetition of the same colors, often more vivid, in the birds and flowers. Where could a person find greater beauty.

Robin's View

by Robin Tuck

Non-game Wildlife

Funding for wildlife management comes from the sale of licenses and from state and federal taxes. Because hunters and fishermen pay directly for fish and game licenses, the Division of Wildlife Resources make decisions in their favor, such as who to hire, often selecting game biologists over on-game biologists. As Bird Watchers, we are often appalled by the decisions made by the Division that go against our common sense, such as starting hunting Sand-hill Cranes again, clearly not something most Birders want to see happen.

If money talks, and it does, the hunters have a say in the Division decisions and we Birders do not. Hunters purchase licenses and we Birders do not; so why should the Division listen to us? If you want some indication of our economic impact (and a measure of the concern the Division has for our opinions) step into an outdoors store such as Sportsman Warehouse and see the range of merchandise available for hunters and fishermen and watch how much money is spent pursuing these activities. Our expenditures for birding pales by comparison. So how do we get a bigger voice?

I believe most everyone agrees we need more work done and more money spent for non-game wildlife but the money has not been there. By and large, we birders are a low-budget group. Sure, sometimes we spend the big bucks for a scope or for a big trip, but that doesn't happen often.

Attempts to have non-consumptive users of wildlife pay something generally is met with loud complaints. We don't want to pay. There are some exceptions, the Federal Golden Passport and the State Parks Pass are two things I have purchased repeatedly over the last several years, but I complain about the toll booths on the Alpine Loop and the Mirror Lake highway. The state has started a license-like plan for non-consumptive wildlife users like ourselves, the Heritage Program, but it languishes with few purchasers because it doesn't give what we don't already have.

Birders must not be alone in their complaints about wildlife and lands use fees, because the lawmakers have been trying to find a way to support non-consumptive use of wildlife without directly impacting the users themselves. I remember the flap several years ago when the government initiated hefty fees to take pictures in National Parks and other federal lands. In their attempt to get a portion of the money spent on big budget motion pictures, the lawmakers made it illegal for ordinary people to profit from their scenic pictures. Here in Utah, a portion of the fees paid for vanity license plates was supposed to go for non-game wildlife, but I have heard complaints that very little of the money ever finds its way into the wildlife programs.

In the last several years, the Federal Government has introduced and passed the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 (CARA) which takes some of the money collected for off-shore drilling and given it to the states for wildlife programs. This money comes with a lot of strings attached, causing some opportunities for public comment. Our own Merrill Webb is on a committee to help determine how the Utah funds will be spent. I'll report more on this subject as the facts become more clear.

This might be good news, I don't know. But I do know that we Birders need to examine our funding of non-game wildlife or someone else will be making decisions about them for us.

Robin's Y2k Advice

by Robin Tuck

I've been working on Y2k for about a year now and have formed several opinions concerning what everyone ought to do. There is no consensus among the writers, both the alarmist and optimist sides of the issue are well populated. Myself, I lean toward the 'small problem' camp. This advice is based on my opinions alone.

In North America and parts of Europe, Y2k will cause minor problems. The rest of the world will fare worse, they were in denial far too long. However, we will see some problems here at home and it is best to prepare. Some problems will hit quickly and be solved while others will not show up for several weeks or may linger for several months. Most Y2k problems will never be reported but will be quickly fixed and never noticed.

Do not panic. Prepare early, starting right now. Do not wait for the last minute when others will be panicking. Finish your preparations before the second week in December. Expect grocery store stocking problems and do not be alarmed by bare shelves late in the day. Stores don't have extra merchandise in the back room anymore.

Prepare for Y2k as you would a bad winter storm. Get drinking water, batteries and some food you don't have to cook. Have some warm clothes and blankets and perhaps some candles.

Accumulate a moderate supply of cash, consisting of small bills and a plentiful supply of change. If there are financial problems, store owners will appreciate exact change. Do not wait until the last several weeks to get cash. A week's worth should be more than enough.

Keep your car filled with gas, and drive on the top half of the tank. Do not stockpile gas but obey local regulations. If you must have some gas on hand, limit it to a gallon or two and store it in approved containers.

If you own a small business and have not already finished making sure you have upgraded to the most current version of your business software, now is the time to panic. If you have a home computer and haven't done anything special for Y2k, you're probably OK. If it fails, the failures likely will not be catastrophic; nothing like not being able to bill your customers.

Whatever happens, do NOT burn charcoal briquettes or white gas inside your home for any purpose. These fuels produce large quantities of carbon monoxide gas that is colorless, odorless and extremely poisonous. If you need to burn alternate fuels inside your home, learn all the facts before you do. Don't survive the new century to die foolishly.

Listen to the news and radio carefully on December 31, because year 2000 begins at the International Date Line in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and sweeps eastward from time zone to time zone, through Australia, China, India and Russia long before it reaches us. From their experiences, we will have some idea of how it will go for us.

Thailand, anyone?

A note from Flora Duncan

Earlier I mentioned that Flora Duncan, one of our birders, is in Thailand for a while. Recently, she sent me some facts and figures about birding in Thailand, in case you are interested. --Darlene Aamot

This information pertains to Khao Yai National Park. Pick up from airport each way 1800 baht [$51.43] (in  van)
Rooms for 2 350 [$10], 600 [$17.14], 900 baht [$25.71]
Rooms for 3,4,or 5 400 baht [$11.43]

Bird watching from early morning to night (6:00 am to 6:00 pm)
Includes car, driver, and English speaking tour guides.

1 person each 1500 baht [$42.86]
2-3 people each 950 baht [$27.14]
4-7 people each 750 baht [$21.43]
8-10 people each 500 baht [$14.29]
Over 10 people each 499 baht [$14.26]

The exchange rate is about 35 baht to $1.00. That means housing could be as low as $10 per night, and guide services would be reasonable. The best time of year for visiting Thailand is October or November. Flora toured this park in June but that is the rainy season. She just lucked out with a good day. The Khao Yai Garden Lodge has a nice little swimming pool. Sound tempting? I have not had the courage to check air fares. That is where the major expense would be, probably. For more information the telefax is 0066 44 365 179.

Happy birding.

State Hotline Highlights


Steve Summers - At Minersville Reservoir, two COMMON LOONS, a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, and a SOLITARY SANDPIPER were seen on Sunday, 08/08.

David Wheeler - Two SOLITARY SANDPIPERS were seen in a small pond near the east side entrance to the Indian Peak WMA on Saturday, 08/28 (DW).

Steve Summers - Among the birds at Minersville Reservoir on Sunday, 08/29, were 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 11 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, and a BONAPARTE'S GULL.


Joe Chronowski, Kevin Fehskens, Matt Hafner, Mark Stackhouse, KermitUpdegrove , Joe Vangrin - Tens of thousands of shorebirds and other birds have been congregating at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (BRMBR) over the past few weeks. On Tuesday, 08/10, good birds seen on the refuge included SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, RED KNOT, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and COMMON TERN.


Joe Chronowski, Kevin Fehskens, Matt Hafner, Mark Stackhouse, KermitUpdegrove , Joe Vangrin - A female WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL was seen in the top of a spruce tree in the campground at Tony Grove Lake in Logan Canyon on Tuesday, 08/10. A small flock of PURPLE MARTINS has been seen along the road to Tony Grove Lake, about 2 miles below the lake. On Sunday, 08/08 there were more than a dozen birds perched in a tree near the road (Cal Robbins), and on Tuesday, 08/10, eight martins were seen in the same location.

Ron Ryel - A WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL was again seen in the campground at Tony Grove Lake in Logan Canyon on Sunday, 08/22. On that same day, NASHVILLE and TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS were seen along the Coldwater Spring Trail, which begins at the campground. A number of good shorebirds were seen at the Amalga Barrens on Sunday, 08/22. These included BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and STILT SANDPIPER. A SOLITARY SANDPIPER was seen just west of Smithfield on the same day.


Carol Gwynn and others - A COMMON MOORHEN was seen at Farmington Bay WMA during a Salt Lake Birders field trip on Saturday, 08/28. The bird was in the same pond where they have been seen for the past several years, on the west side of where the entrance road bends to the west.


Mark Stackhouse - At least three NASHVILLE WARBLERS were seen at the Matheson Wetlands Preserve in Moab on Sunday, 08/29. The birds were along the trail which leads to the Colorado River.


Joel & Kathy Beyer; David Allan - BENDIRE'S THRASHERS continue to be seen along the Sinks Road between Lynndyl and SR 125. On Thursday, 08/05, one was seen about 1 mile south of Lynndyl, near the Sevier River crossing, and another was seen about 1 mile further south (DA). On Saturday, 08/07, one was seen again near the Sevier River crossing (J&KB).

David Allan - A COMMON LOON was seen on Fool Creek Reservoir, about 5 miles southeast of Lyndyl, on Monday, 08/23.

David Wheeler - A NASHVILLE WARBLER was seen at Kaufman Ranch on Saturday, 08/28. Kaufman Ranch is located at Black Rock, about 21 miles north of Milford on SR 257. Be sure stop at the house to request permission to bird the property.


Joe Chronowski, Kevin Fehskens, Matt Hafner, Mark Stackhouse, KermitUpdegrove , Joe Vangrin - A male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was seen in the top of a tree just south of the Home Town Drive-In in Garden City on Tuesday, 08/10. About 20 BOBOLINKS were seen in Round Valley, south of Bear Lake, on Wednesday, 08/04 (SA). The birds were along the road into Round Valley from Laketown, near the "T" intersection.


Joel & Kathy Beyer - At least two male WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were seen and heard singing along the Clayton Peak Trail above Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon, on Saturday. 08/21.

Larene Wyss - A WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL was seen and heard singing along the Clayton Peak Trail above Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon, on Saturday, 08/28.


Mark Stackhouse - A female LARK BUNTING was seen at Hickman Flat on Monday, 08/30. Hickman Flat is located about 12 miles northeast of Monticello (Utah Delorme 31, D-5). To get there, go north from Monticello on US 191 for about 5 miles to CR 332 (Hickman Flat Rd.), and go east about 10 miles.

Joel & Kathy Beyer; Mark Stackhouse - At Devil Canyon, five ACORN WOODPECKERS were seen on Sunday, 08/29 (J&KB). Acorn Woodpeckers and a NASHVILLE WARBLER were seen there on Monday, 08/30 (MS). The birds were seen where US 191 crosses the canyon, about 10 miles south of Monticello. A CASSIN'S KINGBIRD was seen along the highway to the Needles District of Canyonlands NP on Sunday, 08/29 (J&KB).


Brian Maxfield - At Swede Lane, a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and a few SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were seen on Sunday, 08/22.


The ZONE-TAILED HAWK, which was seen at the Pine Park Campground west of Enterprise on 07/31, has been reported again. A forest service worker reported seeing the bird about 1 mile before the campground (fide. SS). To get to Pine Park, go west from Enterprise for 16 miles to the road to Pine Park, and follow that road for 10 miles to the campground. This is the third record of Zone-tailed Hawk in Utah.

Joel & Kathy Beyer - An ELF OWL was again heard calling at Lytle Ranch between 10 and 11 pm on Saturday, 08/07. The owl was in the trees on the west side of the field just south of the pond. This is the first record  of Elf Owl in Utah.Other birds seen at Lytle Ranch on Saturday, 08/07 included a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and an INDIGO BUNTING. Also at the Pine Park CG, a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL was heard calling in the morning on Saturday, 08/28 (DW), and a NASHVILLE WARBLER was seen on Tuesday, 08/31.

Mark Stackhouse - A CASSIN'S VIREO was seen in the Pine Valley Mountains on Tuesday, 08/31. The bird was about 1/4 mile up the Whipple Valley Trail.

Colby & Tom Neuman - At Lytle Ranch, a flock of NASHVILLE WARBLERS and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH were seen at and around the pond on Sunday, 08/29.