August 2002

Utah bird sightings

Compiled by Bill Fenimore
Wild Bird Center, Layton, Utah

Box Elder County

Saturday 8/24: Joel & Kathy Beyer reported a large variety of birds, but few "peeps" at Bear River Refuge. Highlights of the auto tour loop were two Common Terns at the northwest corner, and three Short-billed Dowitchers along the south side.

A field trip to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge by a group attending the Utah Ornithology Society Meeting on Friday, August 23 yielded the usual suspects. However, the birds are in smaller numbers than reported recently, an indication that the major migration of shorebirds has already passed through the refuge. The refuge is very low on water in those units with water. Many units are dry. Additionally, the group saw Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, numerous Caspian Terns, Western and Clark's Grebes (some with chicks still riding on the parents back).

The Fall migration is in full swing from recent reports at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. Jim McIntyre reports large numbers of shorebirds and waterfowl moving through the refuge.

Davis County:

Friday morning, August 29, Bill Fenimore, Glenn Barlow, Jack Torrey and Pomera Fronce went birding at the Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State park. In addition to the usual suspects the group reported seeing, a White-winged Dove (all four verified the sighting made by Bill Fenimore. This may be a first record for a White-winged Dove in Davis County), a pair of Virginia Rails, American Redstart and Red-eyed Vireo. (all east of the spring house along the seep). Around the picnic area was a Western Wood-Pewee, several Eastern Kingbird along the eastern shore line trail from the ranch and a Prairie falcon when leaving the ranch on the eastern shore at the first water trough. They reported 32 species in an hour's birding.

Salt Lake Audubon made its monthly birding trip to Farmington Bay Refuge today and got a respectable list of 53 species, including thousands of swallows, 3 Great Egrets, 2 Cordilleran Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, both Western and Eastern Kingbirds, and the treat of the day for the area, a Northern Mockingbird. The group saw only one Northern Harrier and wonders about the impact of the drought on raptors. Hawk Watch International was covered today on local broadcast news. They indicated that the drought has indeed reduced raptor populations.

Wednesday, August 28, Glenn Barlow, Jack Torrey and Pomera Fronce returned to Antelope Island at Fielding Garr Ranch today and saw the Long-eared Owl again. It was sitting low in a Russian Olive, at the eastern edge of the spring area. The group also saw the female American Redstart flitting around in the trees on the Southwest corner of the spring area, along with many Wilson's Warblers and Townsend's Warblers. They saw Cordilleran Flycatchers and again saw a vireo which had a strong eye stripe and a brown eye, yellowish in the under parts, especially the under tail coverts. They believe it is a juvenile Red-eyed Vireo.

Glenn Barlow, Pomera Fronce and Jack Torrey traveled to Antelope Island State Park and observed the following birds at the Fielding Garr Ranch: Long-eared Owl (in the trees on the eastern edge of the spring area) and the female American redstart (on the Southwest area from the spring house outside the trees). They also saw Wilson Warblers and a possible juvenile Red-eyed Vireo. Glenn ended the trip with a Townsend Warbler which was a life bird for him.

The Northern Waterthrush previously reported at Antelope Island's Garr Ranch was seen again Sunday, Aug. 25 before noon by Joel and Kathy Beyer. It was wandering along the stream east of the Spring House. They also reported a Cassin's Vireo moving through the Russian Olives that line the marsh fence. Yellow-breasted Chat, Nashville and Townsend's Warblers were also seen.

Saturday, August 24 at 9 p.m., Bob Walters DWR Watchable Wildlife Program Coordinator, along with his able bodied DWR team: Adam Kozlowski, Pam Kramer and Phil Douglas led approximately 60 "birders" to a roost of 1,500 Brazilian free-tailed bats in Clearfield. Mammals with wings, which the crowd enjoyed watching the bats launch their nightly foray for insects. Adam Kozlowski provided a variety of facts about bats, as well as interesting information on this particular colony. Bob Walters told the group that DWR hopes to have viewing of this colony again in the future. Since the colony is located on federal secured land, viewing while escorted is necessary. Contact DWR for additional information and questions.

Sid Westerman reported seeing 3 to 4 Clay Colored Sparrows on Goose Island (the knoll at the North end of the West Dike) at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area on Friday at 1 p.m. If confirmed this would be a first report of Clay Colored Sparrows at Farmington Bay and in Davis County. More detailed information is needed. Birders are asked to please report further sightings, with photos being ideal.

Pomera Fronce spotted a Northern Waterthrush at the Fielding Garr Ranch on Antelope Island. It was in the boggy area east of the Spring House. A Townsend Warbler was observed in the picnic area.

Jim McIntyre reported seeing the Lewis Woodpecker reported earlier in Farmington. It is still using the tops of the dead cotton wood tree along Main Street at 300 North. Walk West on 300 North from Main Street, approximately 100 yards. The trees are located Northeast, across a meadow. It was joined by several Western Tanagers, using the same tree.

Wed., August 21, Bob Walters reported an Eastern Kingbird in Woods Cross, West of the 500 S. and 1800 W. intersection.

A Lewis Woodpecker was seen fly catching from the top of a dead cottonwood in Farmington by Bill Fenimore on Saturday, August 17 and later by Glen Barlow. To see the bird go to 300 N. and Main St. in Farmington. Go West on 300 N. approximately 100 yards. Look northeast across a meadow into the dead cottonwood trees.

August 29, Thursday, John Bierregaard reported an Ovenbird at his home in South Weber. It collided with his kitchen window and was stunned for several minutes. He took several pictures before it recovered and flew off. The bird has not been seen since it recovered.

August 31, Saturday Joel & Kathy Beyer birding at Fielding Garr Ranch on Antelope Island saw an Indigo Bunting. It was a fall immature bird, based on coloring and the distinct streaking on the breast. It was foraging with a flock of Lazuli Buntings and Chipping Sparrows in the open grassy area that is bordered by the ranch house, equipment building and the horse corral (i.e., directly north of the ranch house clothesline).

Salt Lake County

Ann Neville, Bob Huntington, Mike Schantz and Dave Hill conducted a water bird survey on Aug. 26 from 6:30 a.m., until 10:00 a.m. The survey was conducted along the South Shore, east of Saltair, west of the Airport in the general vicinity of 10200 W and I-80 for a stretch of approximately five miles. They reported the following species: Eared Grebe, American Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, White-faced Ibis, Canada Goose, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Snowy Plover, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Spotted Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, California Gull, Franklin Gull and Forster's Tern.

Sunday 8/25: Pomera Fronce saw MacGillivray's, Nashville, Orange-crowned, Virginia's, Wilson's, Yellow and Yellow-rumped warblers, as well as Brown Creepers and Warbling Vireos while birding at Tanner's Flat in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Wed., August 21, Sid Westerman of 223 E. Pebble Brook Way in Draper reported seeing and hearing a Veery in his yard at noon. Sid was able to observe the bird and compare its vocalizations to the Peterson tapes to feel certain that the bird is a Veery.

San Juan County

D. Fagan reported a Nashville Warbler, American redstart, White-faced Ibis and Brewer's Sparrows at the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve in Moab between Thursday, Aug. 22 and Monday, Aug. 26.

Uintah County:

A Brown Thrasher was reported in Vernal by Ron Brunson. The bird is in his front yard and best seen in the a.m. Ron welcomes visitors to his home at 1407 E. and 500 N. in Vernal. You may e-mail Ron at or contact him via his web site at

Monday, Sept 2, Ron Brunson at 1407 East 5000 North in Vernal had the Brown Thrasher in his yard again. He first reported it on August 19th. There were also cat birds, Virginia Warblers, Orange Crowned Warblers, Wilson's Warblers, a Great-tailed Grackle and a partial albino Robin that had snow white wings and tail, Green-tailed Towhee, and House Wrens.

Utah County:

Saturday, 8/24, KC Childs reported that two Solitary Sandpipers were seen along the canal on the paved road on the East side of River Lane in Utah County. An immature Purple Martin, Nashville Warbler and a Barn Owl were also seen in this area.

Joel and Kathy Beyer reported a male American Redstart on River Lane (west of Springville). It was seen several times from 8:00 am to 12:00 PM in the area bounded by the cattle guard and continuing west to the large overhanging tree branch that projects halfway across the dirt road. Also of note were Black-throated Gray, Nashville, and Townsend's Warblers. And thanks to Merrill Webb for pointing out a Western Screech Owl. We checked out the sandpipers at Lebarron's Point (near Genola) and were able to identify 3 or 4 Pectoral Sandpipers, Baird's Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and lots of Wilson's Phalaropes.

Thurs., August 22, Merrill Webb reported thousands of Tree and Bank Swallows staging in the Utah Lake area. Hundred of White-faced Ibis and good numbers of Avocets linger in the Provo Bay area of Utah Lake. There were more than a 100 Caspian Terns, South of Spanish Fork River confluence with Utah Lake. Lincoln Beach at the South end of Utah Lake held numerous Snowy Egrets. More than 100 Clark's and Western Grebes were on Utah Lake too.

Saturday, August 31, Eric Huish and KC Childs reported two Solitary Sandpipers in a small puddle in a pasture at LakeShore near 4000 West going to LeBarron Point. At Lincoln Point just south of the boat harbor there were Nashville Warbler, Virginia's Warbler, Baird's and Least sandpipers. At LeBarron Point they saw a Peregrine Falcon. Additionally, on the mud flats around LeBarron Point they reported Avocets, Red-necked and Wilson's Phalaropes, Pectoral Sandpipers, Baird's Sandpipers, Western Sandpipers, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, White-faced Ibis, and Franklin's Gulls. They recorded 65 species in a morning's birding.


Washington County:

Saturday, August 31, Steve Summers and Rick Fridell were not able to relocate the Kentucky Warbler at Upper Sand Cove but did report seeing many migrant songbirds at Upper Sand Cove and around St. George including: Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Hammond's Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, Plumbeous Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Virginia's Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Wilson's Warbler and Yellow-breasted Chat.

Directions follow for those wishing to try for the Kentucky Warbler originally reported at Upper Sand Cove Reservoir by Rick Fridell on Friday, August 30: Upper Sand Cove Reservoir is northwest of St. George, near the town of Veyo, a mile or two west of SR-18. Heading north on SR-18 from St. George, the dirt road turnoff to Upper Sand Cove Reservoir is on the left (west) after passing the Dameron Valley community and before reaching the Veyo Cinder Cone (large basalt cinder hill on the west side of SR-18). If you reach the small town of Veyo you've gone too far. Upon reaching Upper Sand Cove Reservoir, follow the two-track around the reservoir (walk or drive) a short distance from the East Side, until you reach the dry inflow canal.

Weber County

August 29, Ingrid Payne reported a female American Redstart in Pleasant View.

To report bird sightings and/or hear recorded information, please call the Utah Bird Line at (801) 538-4730. You may also send e-mail to: or

Wild Bird Center
1860 N. 1000 W.
Layton, Utah 84041-1858

(801) 525-8400