Utah County Birders Newsletter
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Anthony Wright - DWR Biologist in South-eastern Utah.
Anthony Wright has worked on Peregrine Falcons at Lake Powell and Burrowing Owls in the Carbon/Emery County areas. Will give an informative presentation on his findings.
Meet at 7:00 PM in the Bean Museum Auditorium on the BYU Campus.
August - Summer Picnic - Details coming.
Beginning birders and
nonmembers are welcome.
July 10, 2010: Santaquin Canyon and the Nebo Loop. Leave Payson WalMart at 7:00 a.m. Field trip will run from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Destination and meeting place has changed from what was posted last month)
Strawberry Reservoir and Strawberry River areas,
and/or Mirror Lake. Details TBA.
Fall 2010: Lytle Ranch. Details TBA.
We are actively recruiting people to lead local half-day field
trips, any time, any place. If you would like to lead a field trip or if you
have any ideas for this year’s field trips, please contact Lu Giddings at -
By Ned Hill – President, Utah County Birders
“Birding In Ecuador—Part 6: Birding in the Eastern Andean Foothills”
Note: This is the sixth installment of the report of a birding adventure Ned Hill and three others took with guide Rudy Gelis to northern Ecuador, November 2008, where they saw 500 species. This is only a sampling of the species and places the group experienced.
We arose before dark on a cool but clear day. After a superb breakfast, we found our first new bird just a few feet from the door of the dining hall—a Northern Mountain Cacique. Caciques (pronounced Ka seek’) are oriole-like noisy Icterids, generally black or brown with yellow and/or red markings. This was the start of what was to be one of our best birding days of the trip. We hiked down a grassy trail next to a swiftly flowing stream. As soon as the sun hit the trees, they were alive with birds and bird sound. Rudy, our guide, had difficulty pointing out all the species he could see and hear. We soon found two hard-to-see ovenbirds: Rufous Spinetail busily flying in and out of nest hidden deep in a bush, and a beautifully patterned Pearled Treerunner working tree limbs like a nuthatch. Rudy got very excited to show us a hummingbird that never frequents the feeders, Purple-backed Thornbill. With the shortest beak of any hummingbird in the world, it mainly on shallow flowers. While many flycatchers are rather plainly colored, the Rufous-breasted Chat Tyrant that perched in the top of a bush for us was an exception with his red breast, bold white-eye stripe and red wingbars.
But nothing compares in color to the tanagers we encountered by the dozens. They came in such rapid succession, it was dizzying: Lacrimose, Buff-breasted and Hooded Mountain-Tanagers, and Blue-and-black, Beryl-spangled and Flame-faced Tanager. Robert also spotted a rare Red-hooded Tanager but it flew before the rest of us (except for Rudy) could get on to it. Then we saw both Black-capped and Black-eared Hemispingus and Blue-backed and Capped Conebill—all close relatives to the tanagers. In the brush over on the hillside were both Pale-naped and Slaty Brush-Finch. The rising sun brought out the stunning colors of these wonderful jewels.
Further down the hillside the small stream joined with a much larger one to become a raging torrent—perfect habitat for the high-altitude duck of South America: Torrent Duck. Rudy’s eagle eyes spotted a pair of them far down the river sitting on some rocks. We got good scope views of both male and female. The other bird that thrives in this kind of water is the White-capped Dipper. We found several on the boulders just below us. We took half an hour to rest on the water’s edge and take in the picturesque mountain scene. As we climbed back up towards the lodge, the small bird activity had dropped to very little. We couldn’t believe this was the same place that had us just a few minutes before ticking off new birds at a breakneck pace. It reminded us of the birder’s need for good timing—in most situations, the earlier in the morning the better.
Nevertheless, we did hear Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan calling from the distant hillside. Unfortunately, we were never able to spot one. However, Daniel did observe two large, dark birds soaring high up the side of the mountain. When Rudy got one of the birds in the scope, he let out a whoop! “Black-and-chestnut Eagles!” he cried, “And they’re building a nest.” Through the scope we could see the birds carrying large sticks to a tall tree. Rudy told us that only one other nest of this species had ever been studied but that has not been published yet. He mentally made plans to return to this area in a few weeks and put a camera on the nest from higher up the mountainside.
Around 10 am or so, we packed up and left Guango Lodge with mixed feelings. We’re glad to be moving closer to our ultimate destination, the Amazon Basin, but we’re sad to leave this beautiful spot where we found so many new birds and ate such wonderful food. Our next stop was one of Rudy’s favorite places. He has spent quite a bit of time helping with research projects at San Isidro and the Yanayacu Research Station there. He knows the lodge and the roads and trails like his Quito apartment. He also knows the flocks that circulate through the area since he spent a lot of time studying them.
Before checking into our rooms, Rudy had the driver drop us off for a hike through the forests. Situated at around 7,000’ in elevation, San Isidro is about 2,000’ lower than Guango. That makes a significant difference in the types of plants and birds we could find. We immediately began hearing the calls of Ocellated Tapaculo, that easy-to-hear-impossible-to-see bird of the forest. Rudy used a tape to call it closer to us. It must have approached within just two or three feet but the underbrush was so thick that the bird knows so well how to remain obscure that we could not see any portion of it! However, we did find Bar-bellied Woodpecker and an Andean (Emerald) Toucanet. Toucanets are smaller than Toucans but larger than Aracaris—those three groups are all closely related. As the sun was setting, we stood on the observation deck and saw Rufous-bellied Nighthawks darting about above us and could make out a beautiful Scarlet-backed Woodpecker high in a dead branch. After dinner Rich and I walked a little way up the trail from our room where a street lamp burned. We slowly walked back and forth along the trail to the dining room until we saw a large, dark owl swoop above us into a tree. While it was difficult to make out much, we could see it perched in the light of the street lamp and could tell it was a very darkly barred owl. It must have been the Black-banded Owl of San Isidro—the owl that is not supposed to be here or is supposed to be another species. So, most people refer to it as the “Mystery Owl.” But it is closer to Black-banded than any other species even though that puts it somewhat out of its normal range.
We fell asleep after doing the bird list and realizing that it’s not every day you add nearly 70 new species to your life list!
Next—Birding at Wild Sumaco in the Eastern Andean Foothills.
The Bird of the Month will return next month. If you would like to volunteer to write an article, email me at CherylPeterson@gmail.com or call 375-1914 and I will pass your name on to Junece Markham.
Writing an article for the newsletter is part of the 2010 Birding Challenge - http://www.utahbirds.org/ucb/specialreports/2010BirdingChallenge.pdf
Basin National Park - 25 & 26 June 2010
By Flora Duncan
Esther Duncan, Bekky Levanger and I started out about 1:00 on Friday 25 June 2010 for the Great Basin National Park in Baker, Nevada. We camped in the Baker Campground. Spent a pleasant evening with good weather and the sound of rushing creek waters to lull us to sleep. I would like to report a list of other birds seen before the regular birding trip began.
Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Common Nighthawk, Northern Flicker, Willow Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Plumbeous Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Black-billed Magpie, Tree Swallow, House Wren, European Starling, Yellow Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Spotted Towhee, Savannah Sparrow, House Finch, Pine Grosbeak
Great trip—the first mistake was in not specifying which visitor’s center was to be the meeting place. Fortunately, Ned Bixler and his wife Jeanie came first to the Great Basin center and found no one except bikers and he decided that the meeting place was at the Lehman Cave Center. Esther Duncan, Bekky Levanger and I were waiting there in the shade of an old pear tree. It is interesting this place was settled by the Rhodes family and has several old fruit trees nearby.
I’ll report first the birds sighted during the time from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM:
Cooper’s Hawk, White-throated Swift, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Red-naped Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker (seen by 5, reported to headquarters because it was not on the list—a lifer for two and a common visitor at the Bixler’s in Ohio. The woodpecker was perched in an old apricot tree with the Mountain Bluebird on a twig to the right.), Western Kingbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Scrub Jay, Steller’s Jay, Horned Lark, Common Raven, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch—heard, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Hermit Thrush--heard, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Western Tanager, Chipping Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Oregon Junco, Bullock’s Oriole, Cassin’s Finch
After birding around the Visitor’s Center, we proceeded up the mountain and stopped at Upper Lehman Campground and every turnout on the road until we reached Wheeler Peak Campground. Here we stopped for lunch and spent an enjoyable time watching the Hairy Woodpeckers. After lunch we watched for birds on the turnouts on the way down the mountain. We tried at several places for the Black Rosy-Finch, Hermit Thrush and Red-breasted Nuthatch but didn’t see any of the three. A good time was had by all.
Magnificent mountain setting. The Red-headed
Woodpecker with the Mountain Bluebird in the old apricot tree at the Lehman
Caves Visitors center was spectacular (the Red-headed Woodpecker was a lifer for
me). The Pine Grosbeak was also a lifer and a lot of fun to observe.
The dramatic changes in elevation make a lot of habitats available in a relatively short linear distance and is an important factor for the observation of many varied bird species.
Thanks for the trip.
Steve Carr - Holladay
Lazuli Buntings - All month long. Very unusual. Usually only the first week of June.
Milt Moody - Provo
Twelve baby California Quail
Herb Clayson - Salem
Eurasian Collared-Dove, it tastes like chicken.
Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Western Kingbird -Some evenings one will perch at the tip of the dead branches in a backyard maple tree.
Cheryl Peterson - Provo
I heard a Western Screech-Owl and a Common Nighthawk while I was out at night in my yard, but wasn't able to see either.
Thanks to all who have supported us in the past. If you are interested in officially joining us this year, make out a check to Utah County Birders for $15.00 and mail it to:
2831 Marrcrest West
Provo, Utah 84604
You will be helping to support the Utahbirds.org web page and we will send you a copy of the newsletter.