Salt Lake City Christmas Bird Count
reported by Mark Stackhouse
The Salt Lake City Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, 12/17. In spite of horrendous weather, with high winds, cold temperatures, snow and, in some places, white-out conditions, our hardy group of counters found 95 species, which is one of our highest count-day totals in recent years. No outstanding rarities were found, but we did get a few good birds:
Common Yellowthroat - Colby and Tom Neuman found this at Decker Lake, where one was reported a few weeks ago - apparently it's decided to stay for the winter. This is only the third time this species has been recorded on the SLC CBC - the first two were 1951 and 1954.
Pygmy Nuthatch - Three were seen by Susan Prescott and myself in the NE corner of Liberty Park, and four were seen Bob and Georgine Bond in the Millcreek area (I can't remember exactly where they said they saw them). This was a real surprise, as no one had reported them in the valley this year. They've only been seen on count day on the SLC CBC once before, in 1984, when two were seen. They were recorded during count week in 1995.
Northern Mockingbird - Bob Walters and June Ryburn found one at the old UP&L substation in the west end of SLC. I'm not exactly sure of the address, but I think it's on 500 South, and about 1/3 mile east of 5600 West. It's an old, brick building, and is surrounded by lots of trees (I've always thought there should be good birds there). This is only the third mockingbird on the SLC count, there was one in 1992, and one in 1974.
Barrow's Goldeneye - A male was seen by Colby and Tom Neuman on the Jordan River between 2100 South and 3300 South. This is only the second time we've had this species in the past 15 years.
Black Rosy-Finch - This may be a count-first, although there aren't specific records for the years when the rosy-finches were lumped. A flock of about 100 was seen by Alan Rogers and crew on the ridge above the Avenues in SLC.
Other birds of note include a female Red-breasted Merganser on the Jordan River, seven Yellow-headed Blackbirds in North Salt Lake, and the highest count ever (and only the second occurrence in recent years) for Red Crossbills, with a total of 71 recorded, mostly in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, but also in Liberty Park. We had a great day for diurnal raptors, with all of the expected species found, including four species of falcons and all three accipiters - the first time I can remember that we haven't missed one! However, this didn't carry over into the nocturnal raptors - one of our biggest misses was Great Horned Owl. We also missed Common Snipe, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Hairy Woodpecker and Winter Wren. Has anybody seen a GHO in SLC this week???!!!
A more complete summary will be posted later this week - after we "clean-up" (hopefully) a few of those misses . . .