In Utah, in 2011, I added seventeen life birds, and some of them were doozies! Check this out: Pygmy Owl, Glossy Ibis, Palm Warbler, Band-tailed Pigeon, Virginia's Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black Swift, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Common Poorwill, Dickcissel, Purple Martin, Williamson's Sapsucker, Pine Grosbeak, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, and White-winged Scoter. Each sighting was very memorable. I especially appreciate those spectacular chases like the Palm Warbler and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that I got to enjoy along side several fellow Utah bird enthusiasts.
My own Bountiful yard has been very exciting for me as an avid backyard birder too. Utah birders should not take for granted the comical antics of Western Scrub-jays and the abundance of Black-capped Chickadees. Oh, and having both American and Lesser Goldfinch at your nyger feeder at the same time...how cool is that?! My yard list is still at a humble 55 species, so I've got a lot of watching to do in order to catch up with the112 yards birds in my previous Boise foothills yard. My Utah backyard has certainly been much more conducive to photographing the birds.
The Utah birding community has been most welcoming to me, for which I am grateful. I've met in person and online some fantastic and talented people. Utah birding has also opened up opportunities to expand my birding hobby. I met Bill Thompson III at the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival last year which led to invitation to be an official blogger at the Midwest Birding Symposium. There I got to meet in person several birding legends, many of whom I now interact with on a regular basis. Though I end up birding solo most of the time, I really do enjoy birding with others. By the way, let's throw off the shackles of shyness and introduce ourselves with first and last names when we see each other in the field.
It's been fun and interesting to observe the dynamics of birders through the lens of the listservs. We have the contagious enthusiastics and the curmudgeons; the protagonists and the antagonists; the experts and the inepts; those that find the birds and those that parasite off those sightings (including me!) all thrown together with the common passion and interest in birds. Sometimes watching birders is as entertaining as watching the birds.
My eBird records show that I have reported bird sightings from 60 different locations in Utah, but I feel like I've only just started to scratch the surface. I now know well Farmington Bay, Antelope Island, and the Jordan River. I look forward to a new year of exploration and discovery at Utah birding hotspots and meeting more of you out on the birding trail.
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