Utah County Birders Newsletter


          June 2020 

    Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    President's Message
    Bird of the Month 
    Field Trip Reports


UCB Meetings continue to be postponed for now as we monitor COVID-19 conditions and recommendations. We encourage everyone to go birding while taking appropriate precautions and following current social distancing guidance. We generally have field trips in place of meetings during the summer and hope to continue with those and with our tradition of having a potluck for our August meeting. We wish you healthy and happy birding!

In place of a meeting, you can introduce a new person (family member or friend) to birding. You can choose a good day and a fun route.


Enjoy birding on your own, maintaining the social distancing and guidelines issued by the governor of Utah.

Big Days for May:  (Reports)   (There are a few more on our Facebook Page)
  - Machelle Johnson
  - Lynn Garner
  - Keeli Marvel
  - Suzi Holt
  - Yvonne Carter
  - Tammy Linebaugh Northrup
  - Jeremy Telford


President's Message - June 2020

            by Machelle Johnson
My big day was on Saturday May 9th.  I ended up with 67 species.  I wanted to start at Hope Campground and bird that area but when I got there the road was closed and the gate was locked.  I did see 8 species on Squaw Peak road:  2 Red-tail Hawks 'kiting' above the road, Spotted Towhee, Woodhouse's Scrub Jay, American Robin, Black-headed Grosbeak, Chipping Sparrow, Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatch. 

Bullock's Oriole 
by Terry Sadler   
 ©Terry Sadler

 I stopped at Nun's Park and picked up an American Dipper, Barn Swallow, Song Sparrow and Gray Catbird.  On my way to Powell lake I saw Turkey Vulture, American Goldfinch, Eurasion Collared Dove, Rock Pigeon and American Kestral.  At Powell Lake I saw American White Pelican, Franklin's Gull, Canada Goose, California Gull, Mallard, Red-winged Blackbird, American Avocet, Killdeer, Black-billed Magpie, Yellow Warbler, American Coot, Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, White-faced Ibis, Mourning Dove, Yellow-rumped Warbler, European Starling, Western Kingbird, Spotted Sandpiper, Bullocks Oriole, Double-crested Cormorant, Eared Grebe, Wilson's Phalarope, House Sparrow, House Finch; Great-tailed Grackle and  pair of Mexican Ducks, which are now considered a Mallard subspecies, so I didn't count those. I ran into Keeli who said she started the day at the trail at the north end of Utah Lake and got 40 species, so I went there and added Osprey, Black-capped Chickadee, California Quail and Common Raven.  At Lakeshore on 4000 West I added Black-necked Stilt, Redhead, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Snowy Egret, Western Meadowlark, Long-billed Dowitcher, Western Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Pied-billed Grebe and Western Tanager.  I still needed more for my day so I drove out to Goshen and added Swainson's Hawk, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden Eagle, Willet and Brewer's Blackbird.  I ended at Lakeview Parkway and a bit of the Provo Airport Dike road with Sandhill Crane, Tree Swallow and Violet-green Swallow.  I birded from 7am to 3pm and felt like I did more driving than birding.  I shoulda planned that out better.  All in all it was a fun day of solitary birding, giving me a good start to my Big Month in May. 




Elephant Bird    (Family: Aepyornithidae)

   by Sora Shirley


My report is about Elephant Birds. I chose elephant birds since I love dinosaurs. Even though they aren’t dinosaurs it is kind of like dinosaurs since they are extinct and we can learn about them from studying their bones. And they are really cool.

They are the world’s largest bird. They lived in Madagascar until they went extinct over 1000 years ago. They probably went extinct for a few reasons like being hunted by humans and habitat loss. They weighed at least 1760 pounds and were about 10 feet tall. They couldn’t fly, just like their closest relatives the Ostrich and Kiwis (it was a Ratite too). They were discovered in the 1800s. Some of the bones that were discovered were broken and had human tool marks on them. Elephant birds were herbivores (that means they eat plants). Their body structure makes it appear that they were most likely nocturnal. Their eggs were about 12 inches tall, 28 inches around and weighed 3 pounds!


Field Trip Reports      (There are a few more Big Day Reports on our Facebook Page)

       1st of May 2020

Big Day in May

      by Lynn Garner


I had decided to try for a Big Month of 120 species during May (Category 32 of the UCB Challenge), so on the first day of May I set out to see as many birds as I could. The emphasis was on adding species to the month; I had seen 99 species in April, so I decided to go first where I had recently been. I was able to see 60 species that day (only one of which was a FOY bird for me) and decided to make it the Big Day in May for the new UCB Challenge (Category 37?). I also heard four species that I couldn’t see that day: Marsh Wren, Sora, Virginia Rail, and Ring-necked Pheasant. The outing took over 6 hours and 70 miles, all in Utah County.

Here are the places I visited and the new species I added at each place. The number with each location is the total number of species seen there; only the additional species are listed.

Caspian Tern 
by John Crawley    ©John Crawley

My yard in Provo (6):
       California Quail, Black-capped Chickadee, Cassin’s Finch, Pine Siskin, House Finch,
       House Sparrow
McWane Marshes (9):
       American Robin, Killdeer, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Canada Goose, Cinnamon Teal,
       Mallard, Western Kingbird, Bullock’s Oriole
Flow Serve Ponds (9):
       Snowy Egret, Brewer’s Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Eurasian Collared Dove, Black-billed
        Magpie, European Starling
Springville (2):
        Barn Swallow, Western Meadowlark
East Bay (4):
       Cliff Swallow, Tree Swallow, Caspian Tern
Airport Dike, west side (22):
       Yellow-headed Blackbird, American Coot, Turkey Vulture, Yellow Warbler, Double-crested
       Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Vesper Sparrow, Forster’s Tern, Mourning Dove, American Whitez
       Pelican, Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebe
Swede’s Lane (24):
       Common Raven, White-faced Ibis, Red-tailed Hawk, Prairie Falcon, American Kestrel, Northern
       Rough-winged Swallow, Brown-headed Cowbird, Great Blue Heron
Lakeshore (3):
       Violet-green Swallow
4000 West (17):
       American Avocet, California Gull, Black-necked Stilt, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler
Lakeshore (7):
       Swainson’s Hawk, Osprey, Redhead
Benjamin Slough (8):
       Eared Grebe
Lincoln Point (12):
       Sand Hill Crane, Willet, Northern Harrier
My Yard (5):
       Black-chinned Hummingbird


      9th of May 2020

Big Day in May

      by Keeli Marvel

On May 9th I set out first thing in the morning to do a Big Day in my 5 Mile Radius (within 5 miles of my home). My first stop from my neighborhood was the north lake trail that runs along the north shore of Utah Lake. The Bullock’s Orioles were chattering in the trees, the Yellow Warblers were singing, the Western Tanagers had started trickling in and I picked up a surprise Black Phoebe that flew over the trail. A fellow birder gave me intel on a Great Horned Owl nearby and while checking out the owl I also heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch. After about an hour and a half I’d picked up 41 total species and decided it was time to move on to Powell Lake.

At Powell Lake I picked up a bunch more species including a Mexican duck male that Machelle turned me on to, a bunch of Franklin’s Gulls, a flyover Caspian Tern, a Common Yellowthroat singing by the river, and some Wilson’s Phalaropes in the south pond.

Common Yellowthroat
 by Paul Higgins  
  ©Paul Higgins

From there I moved on to the Jordan River trailhead at picked up an exciting vagrant Harris’s Sparrow and a few other fun species including a Swainson’s Hawk, White-crowned Sparrows, and Cliff Swallows nesting under the bridge. A quick swing by the Smiths’s Marketplace parking lot on the way home for lunch added Great-tailed Grackles to my list.

After a lunch break I headed down to the walking path along the lake shore in my neighborhood and nabbed a few more fun species including a vagrant Northern Waterthrush being skulky in the reeds along a marsh next to the trail and Brewer’s Blackbirds.

I finished off the afternoon and my big day lists before dinner by driving up the bottom of the Israel Canyon trailhead, picking up Horned Lark and a weirdly out of place Pine Siskin. I was aiming for 100 species but a few odd misses (like Great Blue Heron) left me happy with a solid 72 species for the day! I had a great time trying to find as many species that close to home as possible, and now I have a new goal for next time.

Happy Birding!

Keeli Marvel


      14th of May 2020

Big Day in May

      by Suzi Holt


Right after the Short-eared Owl

       MAY 14th, 2020 BIG DAY! 
With Amanda, Jessica, and Carol. We started at 7am and finished at 10pm! I am exhausted! But it was fun! Here is a report from Ebird. I saw a few more than the girls but we all got over 100 species!!

White-faced and Glossy Ibis


Common Yellowthroat
Location(s): 4000 West & Lake Shore (Utah Co.); 4400 West 5200 South in Lakeshore (Utah Co); 53 Utah 198, Santaquin, Utah, US (39.982, -111.767); Benjamin Slough; East Goshen Pond; East Tintic Mountains; East Tintic Mountains--Dividend Rd.; Elberta Slant Road; Goshen Canyon (Utah Co.); Goshen Canyon Road, Goshen, Utah, US (39.932, -111.896); Goshen Cemetery; Goshen Reservoir ; Lincoln Beach Rd.; Lincoln Beach--Boat Launch Area; Maple lake; Nebo Loop -- Camp Maple Dell; River Lane; Sandhill Road, Goshen, Utah, US (39.919, -111.917); Spring Lake ; Summit Creek Number Two Reservoir; Utah Lake Wetland Preserve -- Goshen Bay; Warm Springs WMA (Utah Co.); Yard List

awe, baby Killdeer

so cute

Snowy Plover
Total # of Species:108 Canada Goose, Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, California Quail, Ring-necked Pheasant, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark's Grebe, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Virginia Rail, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Snowy Plover, Killdeer, Long-billed Curlew, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope,

Savannah Sparrow

Barn Owl

Western Tanager

Yellow-breasted Chat

Great Horned Owlets

Gray Vireo
 Spotted Sandpiper, Willet, Franklin's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Caspian Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis, White-faced Ibis, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Golden Eagle, Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Short-eared Owl, Northern Flicker, American Kestrel,

Canyon Wren

Swainson's Hawk

Loggerhead Shrike

Brewer's Sparrow

Warbling Vireo

Geen-tailed Towhoo
Gray Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Gray Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Loggerhead Shrike, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Horned Lark, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rock Wren,

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Gray Flycatcher

Virginia's Warbler

Plumbeous Vireo

Pine siskin

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Canyon Wren, Bewick's Wren, European Starling, American Robin, House Sparrow, House Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Yellow-breasted Chat,

Lark Sparrow

Lazuli Bunting
Yellow-headed Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Bullock's Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Orange-crowned Warbler, Virginia's Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warble, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting

       15th of May 2020

Big Day in May

      by Yvonne Carter

This was a very different Utah County Big Day---Missing my dear birding friends. I started out a number of years ago, when I met Dennis Shirley, Milt Moody, and others at the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival in Farmington. Two days after meeting fellow birders at the Center and with a $10 pair of binoculars, I joined the group on the traditional field trip that is always held on the last day of the festival on Mondays. I have never missed any of the Utah County Big Day field trips since then.

So as I started out my Big Day on May 15th, I was mentally reminiscing over the years, the favorite hot-spots that the field leaders have taken us, like the Salem Ponds, spots in Payson, Warm Springs WMA, Goshen ponds, Goshen Canyon and the fields south and west of Goshen, Slant Road, and Dividend Road. So with a large Coke, and classical music playing, I started out at a somewhat relaxed pace.

Since I live in Highland at the very north end of the valley, I decided to bird some different spots that I have found successful this Spring. I started out at Powell Lake, and found the usual waterfowl, Pelicans, some shorebirds, and a Black-capped Night Heron that I had been searching. From there I checked the Pioneer Crossing Ponds, and guess what folks! I am afraid that developments are affecting that area--very little water. So on to 4000th West Lake Shore, meeting up with the Shirley family as Dennis was hunting for the infamous Glossy Ibis. There was the usual waterfowls, the usual shorebirds including Stilt Sandpipers, hundreds of Ibis, pelicans, and I came up with over 30 species at that spot.

Snowy Plover
 by Cliff Miles   
 ©Cliff Miles

And then on to Lincoln Beach, and Wow! a great assortment of shorebirds including a Snowy Plover. And as well, Benjamin Slough, but it was quieter that earlier in the Spring. And on to Warm Springs WMA, I looked for the Blue Grosbeak but it hadn't arrived. Darn! but found other species there and along toward Goshen Ocean for new species, and by that time the weather was becoming really windy which I feel contributed to low numbers in Goshen Canyon by 4 P.M. But the Golden Eagle was there on the favorite nest. It was too late for Slant Road or Dividend Road--but that will be another day.

But I must say that there is a great value to be birding in a group, for there are 10, 15, or 20 pairs of eyes instead of just my eyes. Also, I learn so much from well experienced birders. Not only helping with identifying the species, but sharing in stories and experiences in birding--the camaraderie of what I consider a great group of people in love with this earth and its creatures.

My total was 65 species--I felt okay about it. When we have done the Utah County Bird Day for the festival and with 15 or so people, our numbers have been in the high 90's!


                21st of May 2020

Big Day in May

   by Tammy Linebaugh Northrup


I did my May Big Day on May 21, 2020. I chose to look for birds at Battlecreek Canyon, a favorite spot near my home and a new spot- Redwood Road on the West Side of Utah Lake. I added the birds I saw at both of these places with the birds I saw in my backyard for a total of 34 species. Highlights of the day were seeing a Virginia's Wabler (lifer) at Battlecreek and a Burrowing Owl on Redwood Road!

Virginia's Warbler

Burrowing Owl

       22nd of May 2020

Big Day in May

      by Jeremy Telford

My two oldest and I did our big day today. We set out at 3:20am and got back at about 10:15pm. The birding spots were not hopping like they were when I first planned my route so we only ended up with 85+ species (As soon as I am sure about the empids it will be 88), but we had fun and I got two lifers (Gray Vireo and Common Poorwill). The 50+ Purple Martins all sitting in one tree was pretty cool too.

Three Telfords - mostly awake

Common Poorwill

Mallard Mutt

Western Wood Pewee?

Great Egret

Wilson's Phalarope

Western Kingbird

American White Pelican

Western Meadowlark

Gray Vireo

Rock Wren

Black-throated Sparrow


Red-tailed Hawk

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Eared Grebes goin' courtin'

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Purple Martins aplenty

I had to make sure they weren't starlings :-)

Lazuli Bunting

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Yellow Warbler

Red-naped Sapsucker

Three Telfords - mostly asleep