Utah County Birders Newsletter


         April 2022 

    Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    President's Message
    2022 Birding Challenge
    Bird of the Month 
    Special 2022 Challenge Report 
    Field Trip Reports


Thursday, April 14th at 7pm on Zoom.

As most birders know, the Great Salt Lake is a refuge for many waterfowl and shorebird species and provides food in the form of brine shrimp and brine flies annually for millions of birds. The lake has been recorded at its lowest levels the last few years, and has garnered attention from many different groups and legislative action to address the drop in water levels. Our guest speaker this month is Ashley Kijowski, a biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Project (GSLEP). She’s going to talk to us about the Current State of the Great Salt Lake, and what it means for the future of the birds that call it home.

Zoom information will be sent out via the UCBirders email list, so sign up if you'd like to participate! 

FIELD TRIPS:  (Please bring walkie talkies set to 5-0)

   April 16th 2022
   Tooele County fieldtrip to Clover Springs Campground

Since it is Easter Weekend and I didn't want to interfere with any Easter Egg Hunts so we will meet at the Payson Walmart at 2:00 p.m. Meet to the west of the Quick Quack carwash. If you want to meet at the campground, that would be great too! We will try for our 22 species at the campground and if needed drive around Rush Valley.

   April 23rd 2022
   We are having an "EASTER BIRD HUNT"

We will meet at the Texaco Truck Stop 5175 W. 9700 N. Elwood, Utah. We will leave at 5:30 a.m. sharp! It will be worth it I promise! We will hunt for birds in Box Elder County 'til we reach our 22 species. Then we will go to Cache County and find our 22 species. Then finish our trip in Weber County to get our 22 species. It will be a long day. Bring a lunch and snacks.

We do have a couple out of town challenge field trips planned.

     The first one is:

      May 20-21 2022
   Grand and San Juan County
On Friday we will meet at the Swanny Ciy Park 400 N.100 W. Moab at 11 am.
Our first birding spot will be by the Kane Creek OHV parking lot. I usually see a lot of birds here, hopefully we will get our 22 species for Grand County, if not we will stop at the Scott S. Matheson Wetlands Preserve and around town.
Please bring snacks, a lunch and water.

Then we will head to Devil's Canyon Campground to set up camp. Or if you want there are hotels in Monticello and Blanding. I would recommend getting reservations ASAP.
After setting up camp we can look for birds around the campground.
Saturday we will meet at 8 or 9 am depending on the weather to look for birds around the campground, drive to Recapture reservoir and if we have time go check out the Blue mountains. I love this area and I am excited to share it with you all. My favorite species down here are Acorn Woodpecker, Western Bluebird, Pygmy Nuthatch, Grace's Warbler and hopefully Red Crossbill! I have also seen Williamson's Sapsucker, Lewis's Woodpeckers and so many others!

Second field trip:

      June 3-4 2022
   Washington County

Friday we will meet at 6 am at the Bluff street McDonald's in St. George.
We will drive out to Lytle Ranch. We will spend a lot of time there. Please bring a lunch and water. After that we will see if we have time to go to the Gunlock area to look for Common Blackhawk, go to Snow Canyon and Tonaquint Nature Park.

Saturday we will meet at the Hurricane Walmart at 7 am. From there we will go straight up Kolob Terrace to Lava Point Lookout to look for California Condors. We will walk around the area there looking for birds, then drive around to a few other good spots.
If we have time we will check out Dalton Wash for Rufous-crowned Sparrows and hit Grafton. Plan on lunch that day as well.
Remember to book your hotels ASAP.

On your drive down Thursday please stop in Iron County to get your 22 species. My favorite spot is the trail along the river that goes up Cedar Canyon-Lower (aka Canyon trail) its a ebird hotspot, i also like Canyon Park. I would think you could find all 22 species in a few hours there.

Would you like to help with the Utah County Birders Organization!?

We are looking for someone to fill the position of President-Elect on our board. Any member of Utah County Birders is eligible to apply for this position. The President-Elect would fill the role of President of Utah County Birders next year. You don’t need to be an experienced birder, you just need an interest in birds and be an active member of our group. You would be on the group email for the board officers and give help and suggestions for meetings, field trips, activities etc. Attend meetings and field trips when possible. Please email  if you are interested.



President's Message - April 2021


            by Machelle Johnson



So far we're off to a great start for our 2022 Challenge. The field trips have taken us to Salt Lake, Juab, Millard, Sandpete and Sevier counties. You should already have Utah county done as well so you could be at 6 counties or more by now. We'll be adding 5+ counties in the next 3 months with the field trips that are planned.
Going on these field trips is a great way to increase your birding knowledge and skills. We have a such a great group of good birders that are willing to share their expertise with us! Other ways to improve include reading books, articles and visiting websites. Some of my favorites are utahbirds.org, allaboutbirds.org, various field guides, The Essential Field Guide Companion by Peter Dunne, Field Guide to Advanced Birding by Kenn Kaufman, and this little gem, Good Birders Don't Wear White, by various authors.

This is a fun, quick read with lots of good information ranging from Birding Etiquette to the Joy of Birding. I especially like the section titled "Identify then Testify". There are many relatable birding situations and experiences that the authors write about plus great tips and tricks for birding, and funny stories. I highly recommend it. You can borrow my copy if you would like, just contact me about it.


The 2022 Birding Challenge

      Printout with the details
          (PDF file)


Robert Parsons off to a great start!

My daughter gave me a fun Christmas present that I thought I would share with the group. She found a map of all the Utah counties, outlined the counties and then mounted it on some corkboard. She gave me a box of colorful hummingbird pins that I could stick in each county as I completed the 2022 birding challenge. As you can see, we’ve made a good start and have eight counties checked off. I leave this up in my office so that each day it is a fun reminder to start planning for the next county adventure! I can




   Bristle-thighed Curlew
(Numenius tahitiensis)

By Ned Hill

I love shorebirds--not so much for their beauty (which is often appealing, too) as for their sometimes long-distance seasonal travels. I know the Bristle-thighed Curlew is not on the Checklist of Utah Birds--but Utahns sometimes visit places where they might encounter these birds on their wintering islands, like Hawaii. The Bristle-thighed Curlew nests in mountain meadows of northern Alaska. But when the warm weather starts to wane, these medium-sized shorebirds travel down to islands in the Pacific Ocean (note the "tahitiensis" in its scientific name). These birds know how to find first-class wintering spots!

Bristle-thighed Curlew
by Margaret Sloan    ©Margaret Sloan

Their name comes from the bristle-like feathers at the base of the legs. They have a fairly long and strong, down-curved bill. Their wingspan is almost three feet. Their call is a fairly loud whistle.

My first sighting of a Bristle-thighed Curlew came in May of 1996 when Ivan Call (another Utah County Birder) and I went on a fascinating adventure to Attu Island and other parts of Alaska. On our short journey into Nome, we hiked some distance up into the deeply moss-covered (and ankle twisting) mountains. We finally found a frequently used rocky meadow where Bristle-thighs were nesting. It was a thrill to see them circle our heads giving their loudly whistled calls.

I again encountered Bristle-thighed Curlews a few years later, thanks to the courtesy of Les Moore, director of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii. He drove my wife and me around the outskirts of the golf course where we found many colorful Hawaiian birds. And, finally, a couple of Bristle-thighed Curlews flew over us, enjoying the warm sunshine. It then occurred to me what amazing birds these are. They had to travel at least 3,000 miles from Nome to Laie! How do they do it? If they are just one degree off, they would miss Hawaii by hundreds of miles--with no other islands nearby for an alternative landing spot. And, like most migrating birds, they can't refuel on the way. They would have no surplus energy to allow them to "look around" for alternative destinations. It is even more amazing when you consider that some significant percentage of the Curlews would be recent hatchlings making the trip for their first time!

So, next time you are in Hawaii in winter, look around for Bristle-thighed Curlews and other strong-willed shorebirds that may have come farther than you have come to visit these delightful Pacific Islands! And when you make decisions in life, stay pretty close to your course because deviations may lead you far from where you hoped to end up!


Field Trip Reports  


I don't get up often this early but when I do, sunrises like this make it worth it!!


    Sanpete/Sevier County Fieldtrip
                                  26 Mar 2022

                         by Suzi Holt   

We had a great turn out today for our fieldtrip. We met at 7 am at the Chevron in Spanish Fork and got to Fairview to meet Bryan at around 7:45 am.

Palisades State Park

Double-crested Comorants-Palisades SP

Ruby-crowned Kinglet-Palisades SP

From there we headed to Palisades State Park. We saw lots of Double-crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, and Common Mergansers. Our favorite bird was a Red-breasted Merganser hanging our with the Commons. We also had Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, Mallards, American Coots, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Collared Dove, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Killdeer, Northern Flicker, Black-billed Magpie, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pine Siskin, American Robin, House Finch, Cassin's Finch, Common Raven, Red-winged Blackbird, and European Starling. Yeehaw 22 species in Sanpete county!


Red-breasted Merganser-Palisades SP

Eurasion-collard Dove-Palisades SP

Cassin's Finch-Palisades SP

Ninemile Reservoir

Ninemile Reservoir

We then went to Ninemile Reservoir. There were lots of waterfowl here! We had Canada Goose, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Gadwall, Canvasback, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Common Merganser and Ruddy Duck. Had a flyover of a Peregrine Falcon. Then we heard Chukars!! We continued looking for birds and found a couple Eared Grebes, a Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer and a American Avocet, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, California Gull, Song Sparrow, Common Raven and Western Meadowlark. Then we saw the Chukars!!!

Common Goldeneye-Ninemile Reservoir

Greater Yellowlegs-Ninemile Reservoir

American Avocet-Ninemile Reservoir

As we came into Gunnison we saw FOY 18 Turkey Vultures!!! What a morning. Pitstop at Maverik.

Now onto Sevier County. First stop Redmond Lake. Our first birds were Tree Swallows, American Robins, American White Pelican, American Coot, Mallard, Turkey Vulture, Sandhill Cranes, Canada Goose, Green-winged Teal, Western Meadowlark and Yellow-rumped Warblers. We heard a White-crowned Sparrow. Had a Northern Flicker flyover. Saw Eurasian Collared Dove, European Starling, Red-winged Blackbird, Blackbilled Magpie, House Sparrow,...


Turkey Vultures-Gunnison

 ...and then saw a FOY Swainson's Hawk!! We also saw Red-tailed Hawk, California Gull, Clark's Crebe, Northern Shoveler, Common Merganser, Common Raven and a flyby of a Long-billed Curlew!!

Swainson's Hawk-Redmond Lake

Long-billed Curlew-Redmond Lake

American White Pelicans-Redmond Lake

American White Pelicans-Redmond Lake

Sandhill Crane-Redmond Lake

Savannah Sparrow-Fayette River Bottoms

Peregrine Falcon-Fayette River Bottoms

We then drove the Fayette Bottoms along the Sevier River. We had a Cooper's Hawk, Great Blue Heron, American Kestrel, the same Ameican White Pelicans, a few Savannah Sparrows, Western Meadowlark, Northern Harrier, Horned Lark, Common Raven, Turkey Vultures, Northern Pintail, American Coot, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Redhead and another Peregrine Falcon!! We aslo saw a Red-taield Hawk and a Rough-legged Hawk, Double-crested Cormorant and a Neotropic Cormorant!! We also saw Killdeer, Sandhill Cranes, and Black-billed Magpie. Yay we got more than our 22 species!!

Back into Sanpete County to Yuba Lake Painted Rocks SP. Lots of Canada Geese all over the island, American Coot, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Redhead, Northern Shoveler and Black-necked Stilts!! We also saw American White Pelican, Common Raven and Two Golden Eagles!!

It was a fun trip! Total trip species 66!!

Thanks Bryan Shirley you are the best field guide out there!!!



Watching the Song Sparrows

Diamond Fork Field Trip
                                  5 Mar 2022

                         by Suzi Holt   

A few minutes after 9 we headed up the canyon. Our first bird was a American Kestrel. We saw a few Black-billed Magpies, and American Robins too. At the campground our first bird was a Belted Kingfisher. And then a couple American Dippers dipping. We made such a fuss the campers woke up and came out to see if we had seen a moose :) oops. We saw some more American Robins, a Woodhouse's Scrub Jay and some European Starlings.



Two American Dippers

American Dipper

American Dipper

Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay

Canyon Wren

Canyon Wren

Golden Eagle

 From there we made our way up to the Red Ledges area. We were greeted by a couple excited Canyon Wrens. We continued upthe canyon and saw quite a few Townsend's Solitaires, lots of Song Sparrows, a Juniper Titmouse. There were lots more Black-billed Magpies, American Robins and Woodhouse's Scrub Jays. On our way down we saw a Common Raven, two more Belted Kingfishers and a couple Golden Eagles.
On the way home we stopped and saw the Lewis's Woodpeckers in Salem.

Chasing the Juniper Titmouse

Diamond Fork Canyon Road

Yep Tatum is in the dirt

Tatum - peek-a-boo!


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