Upcoming Field Trips
Bird of the Month
Field Trip Reports
NOVEMBER UCB MEETING:
Thursday Nov. 10th, 7 pm
(in person at the Bean Museum or online via Zoom.)
Jeff Cooper, our very own local eBird reviewer, will give us a refresher
on tips and tricks to using eBird and Merlin, as well as talk about some
of his experiences searching for Boreal Owls in some of the more remote
parts of Utah.
(Please bring walkie talkies set to 5-0)
November 12, 2022
Meet at Harmon's on 800 N. In Orem at 8:30 am
We will go to East Canyon Reservoir and meet Weston Smith there to look for
loons and other birds. Then we will stop at Echo and Rockport Reservoirs
where Dave Hanscom will be with us to show us around . On
the way home we will check out Deer Creek Reservoir . Dress warm and bring a
November 19, 2022
Meet at Harmon's on 800 N. In Orem at 8:30 am. We will start at East Lawn
Cemetery, then trot to South Fork to count turkeys. From there we will trot
over to Diamond Fork, Elk Ridge, Payson Canyon and possibly Santaquin. It is
a fun day. Make sure yo bring a lunch and we will also have our famous
turkey trot sugar cookies!!
Upcoming Fieldtrips for 2022
President's Message -
by Machelle Johnson
The year is winding
down, or maybe winding up considering 'The Holidays' are upon us! We have one
last field trip to check off counties, so make your list and check it twice!
This has been a fun challenge, and I've enjoyed going to the various counties
either on my own or on a field trip. The board is accumulating prizes so we
would like to have an idea of what level you think you will accomplish.
Please send us an email with the number of counties you expect to complete by
the end of the year. If you already have 22 counties for the gold level, let us
know right away!
Mark your calendar for our January 12th meeting where we'll announce the Gold,
Silver and Bronze Medal winners!
BIRD OF THE MONTH:
by Dennis Shirley
around the first of the month of October, within a week’s time, we had two
exciting Flycatchers show up in our state. First was a Great-crested Flycatcher
along the Spanish Fork River at River Lane. The second was a Thick-billed
Kingbird at the Salt Lake International Center west of the Salt Lake Airport.
Both are extremely rare in the West and especially in Utah, having only been
seen in the state two or three times prior. I thought it would be fun and
exciting to look at this group of birds and not just a single bird of the month.
Great Crested Flycatcher
by Rick Fridell
by Bryant Olsen
Tyrant Flycatchers are the largest world bird
family with 435 species. They are found only in the New World – North and South
America. Included in this family are the Flycatchers known as the Kingbirds
(genus Tyranus) Kingbirds range as far north as Alaska (rarely) to the
Patagonian Steppes of Southern Argentina and even the Falkland Islands. There
are 13 species of Kingbirds of which 10 have been recorded in North America
north of Mexico. Six have been found in Utah. The six include Western, Eastern,
Cassin’s, Tropical, Thick-billed, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. The rarest of
these six is the Thick-billed Kingbird which has only been seen three times
including the recent Salt Lake County bird. Three kingbirds are known to breed
in Utah – Western, Eastern, and Cassin’s.
Kingbirds are a popular group of birds because they are easy to see, most of the
time perching in the open on wires, fences, posts, or dead branches of trees.
They are conspicuous when they fly out and back from their exposed perch,
catching flying insects. They are true tyrants of the bird world because they
are afraid of no one and aggressively chase much larger birds, including birds
of prey, out of their territories. I once observed a Western Kingbird actually
land on the back of a flying Red-tailed Hawk and pull out several of its back
feathers. They are truly fearless.
The Thick-billed Kingbird (Tyranus crassirostris) which refers to its large,
conspicuous bill, is way out of its normal range when it is in Utah. Its normal
range is in the hot desert areas of Mexico to Guatemala. It does, however,
occasionally occur along the southeastern Arizona/Mexico border during breeding
season. It is known to occasionally have juvenile first-year birds apparently
get mixed up and “migrate” north instead of south. Rarities have been recorded
in the fall in California, Colorado, southern British Columbia, and now in Utah.
All three of Utah’s records occurred in the month of October (2009, 2013, 2022)
and all were believed to be first-year juveniles.
First-year juveniles are brighter yellow in the breast than adults, have a
cinnamon-colored edging to the wing coverts, and have a conspicuous white
throat. Both adults and juveniles have a thick, dark, heavy bill from which the
bird gets its name.
Just a note: the Great-crested Flycatcher, which occurred on River Lane, is not
a true kingbird, even though its appearance tends to make it look so. It is a
Myiarchus Flycatcher. This group also includes other Utah Flycatchers such as
Ash-throated and Brown-crested. They are similar to kingbirds but are generally
smaller, longer tailed, and tend to fly catch more inside the cover of tree
canopies. This is exactly what the bird on River Lane was observed doing while
it was seen over the few days it was there. On the other hand, the Thick-billed
Kingbird in Salt Lake was conspicuously perched in wide open spots and was
It’s always fun and exciting to go on a rare bird chase in the state and run
into fellow birders whom you may not have seen for a while. Such was the case
with both the Great-crested Flycatcher and Thick-billed Kingbird. It’s almost
just as enjoyable to visit socially with friends as it is to successfully get
the bird, almost.
Pop Quiz: Can you ID the six "Kingbirds" found in Utah?
[See the answers at the bottom on
past Bird of the Month articles]
Field Trip Reports
Capital Reef/ Wayne County Fieldtrip
by Suzi Holt
October 22, 2022 Lonny & Tammy Northrup and the Hinckley family met us at
Capital Reef National Park to start
our search for 22 species in Wayne County. It was a beautiful crisp fall
morning with sunlight peeking through the orchards and cottonwood trees.
The magnificent red rock formations and contrasting greens, oranges and
yellows with bluebird skies were a sight to see. We were greeted by two
bucks in the picnic area. Our first bird was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet,
then an American Robin. We then heard and saw a Northern Flicker.
As we made our way towards the bridge and the orchards the views were
spectacular and Tammy spotted something soaring up above one of the canyon
walls, a Golden Eagle!
A beautiful sunrise
Golden Eagle-Capital Reef
We could hear Dark-eyed Juncos then saw them and heard
White-crowned Sparrows. We also heard a Belted Kingfisher along
the river. Birds were few and far between.
I'd told Tatum he could pick a apple if there were any left in the orchard
but there weren't. But Lonny had one in his car that he hid in the trees
for Tatum to find. He was so happy!!
We walked along the river and saw a White-crowned Sparrow and
another American Robin at the beginning of the trail, the wind
had picked up and the birds all hunkered down. We did see a lone Wild
Turkey patrolling the campground though. The camp host considered
her a unwanted pest :( but we thought she was beautiful and felt lucky
to see her. The Northrups needed to head for home. So the Hinckley's and
our crew headed to Torrey. We added
Black-billed Magpie and European Starling there. Onward to
Bicknell Bottoms. Jess saw a lone
Mountain Bluebird out in the field. Along the river we saw
Mallards, Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Harriers, Common Raven, Horned
Larks and a Great Blue Heron. In
Bicknell we saw added House Sparrows, putting the
Hincklys at 21. They decided to go through town looking for a Eurasian
Collared Dove and then head home. We went through Teasdale and
added Woodhouse's Scrub Jay, American Kestrel and Yellow-rumped
Warbler and a stampede of Waddled Cattle.
The lone Wild Turkey-Capital
Horned Lark-Bicknell Bottoms
Mountain Bluebird-Notom Rd
Loggerhead Shrike-Notom Rd
Back in Torrey
at the Farmers Market we saw a group of Rock Pigeons flying around
and Eurasion-collard Doves in a backyard.
Yay 22 species!!
Back at the campground i saw a Hairy
Woodpecker. Hopefully the Hinckleys found their last one too! It was a
fun day despite the windy weather and such a beautiful place to spend a
few days. On the 21st we also saw a flock of Bushtits and on the
23rd we added a Loggerhead Shrike and a Red-tailed Hawk on
Notom Road for a toral of 27!
Thanks to everyone who joined us!
The BIG SIT-Provo Airport Dike
8 Oct 2022
by Suzi Holt
After a couple
days of landscaping we arrived bright and early for the BIG SIT at 6 am.
With light from a full moon and a couple flashlights Torrey, Julie and I
laid out the circle with rocks, then Keeli arrived with her flour and
tape measure to check our work, we were only a foot off. I'd say that's
In the dark we summoned a Great Horned Owl. A beautiful sight! Then we
heard a Caspian Tern and Black-crowned Night Heron, Killdeer, American
Avocet, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mallard, Song Sparrows, and Spotted
Towhee in the twilight. In the distance we heard the calls of Sandhill
Cranes and a Western Meadowlark.
The sun began peeking out over the
Springville mountains and more birds began to wake up. Joellen arrived
with a trampoline to occupy Tatum and with Jo's smorgasbord and Keeli's
pumpkin chocolate chip muffins we had a breakfast feast!
The count continued with a few California Gulls and lots of Ring-billed
Gulls and eleven Great Blue Herons! A sweet little Black-capped
Chickadee sang its happy song, then with a little coaxing whistle it
came in for closer views. We had Northern Flickers calling and flying
by, Then three Black-crowned Night Herons flew down the moat.
We heard the call of a Downy Woodpecker and then he began drumming.
A few Greater Yellowlegs and a couple American Crows called and flew
over head. Then a Great Egret paid a visit.
We counted lots of American White Pelicans and American Coots. A few
American Pipits, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, European Starlings, more
Northern Flickers, lots more Red-winged Blackbirds and a few more
Killdeer flew by.
A couple Northern Harrier's were hunting over the marsh and a flock of
White-faced Ibis and American Avocets were flying over the Utah Lake
shoreline. About then Steve and a new birding friend Chuck Carn that he
picked up along the road showed up. American Robins, and a few Yellow-rumped
Warblers flew into the Cottonwood trees. Lots of Barn Swallows and a
lone Tree Swallow flew by catching breakfast on the wing. There was a
Orange-crowned Warbler and a couple Dark-eyed Juncos in the trees close
Sweet Embers first field trip
West Mountain from our circle.
We found a couple Franklin's Gulls mixed in with the other gulls out on
the lake, and a few Double-crested Cormorants were flying towards Bird
Keeli spotted a Fox on the taxi way! That was a fun find!
We heard a Marsh Wren, saw and heard White-crowned Sparrows. As Tammy
and Lonny arrived some Snowy Egrets flew out of the moat. Then Andrea,
Kayla and Esther arrived. Kayla showed us a few butterflies and a
praying mantis eating a grasshopper.
A little later a couple Red-tailed Hawks were soaring above the trees,
and a Green-winged and Cinnamon Teal flew by.
In the heat of the day the only other species we were able to add was a
Woodhouse's Scrub Jay!
Keeli, Steve and Tatum
Tatum and Andrea
He loves helping look for birds!
Around 2 pm the Shirley's arrived. We stayed with them for about a hour
but we only added to our tallys not species. About 3 pm Amanda and the
littles and I decided to get out of the heat. The Shirley's stayed til 4
pm without adding anything else. It was just too hot, a big change from
the ice covered puddles and rain from 2021.
Our Big Sit ended with 46 Species! Not too bad considering the water
levels in the lake and the moat!
Thanks to everyone who helped!
Answers to the "Pop Quiz":
Kingbird by Kendall Brown l ©Kendall
Thick-billed Kingbird by Mike Hearell ©Mike Hearell
C - Tropical Kindbird
by John Crawley
D - Western Kindbird
by John Crawley
Scissor-tailed Flycatcheri by
Kendall Brown l ©Kendall W. Brown
F - Cassin's Kingbird by
Photos were taken by local photographers and are in the
Utah Birds Photo
[Go back to the Quiz]
Utah County Birders website
Utah County Birders Board Members
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