Utah Birds, Utah Birding, and Utah Birders. Promoting the sharing of information, and the conservation of habitat for birds in Utah and elsewhere. We are a group of people who want to share what we know, and create a positive birding experience in Utah.

BIRDERS BLOG

a blog by and for Utah Birders

eBirding, damn right it's competitive

posted by Tim Avery at
on Friday, February 24, 2012 

At the onset of February, fellow Utah Birder Carl Ingwell challenged other Utah Birders to submit as many eBird checklists as possible during the month of February.  February is typically a slow month for birding in Utah, so this is quite a challenge. Well here it is and the final week of February is upon us and as of this morning Utah sits at 24th in terms of most checklists submitted for the month--that's one spot higher than we were at the beginning of the month.  So what happened?  I thought for sure we would jump into maybe 16th, or 13th--but to no avail we remain at the bottom of the top 25.  Like BYU during their luckiest of Football seasons, or Utah during an off year, we jsut couldn't move up in the rankings.

But alas, it doesn't matter--it's just a silly challenge.  I took it to heart though (As Barnabus Stinson would say, "Challenge Accepted"!) and made it my goal to submit as many checklists as possible this month.  As of right now that's 181 checklists in the past 23 days.  That's just under 1/2 as many as I submitted in all 0f 2011.  And because of Carl's challenge I'm sitting somewhere near the top of the list for submitted checklists in Utah this year... well take a look for yourself:


I'm not exactly killing it in the species department--but in the checklists department I am having a Ted Williams'esque run.  Well Utah Birders, with just a week to go it looks like there is some major catching up to be done--so challenge on--beat me and I will throw in an extra prize to whatever Carl had in mind!

But I'm not going down without a fight--I am going to submit at least 10 checklists a day till the end of the month (that's at least 60 more for those who aren't aware of the date).

Good eBirding to all--get out there and get those checklists entered.

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Golden Eagle age?

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 

People have asked me to post more Golden Eagles in regards to ageing. Anyone want to take a guess what age this is, or just flat out tell us what age it is. It's a pretty simple one, or is it? "click" on photo to enlarge this beautiful image by Vic Berardi.

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Sharp-shinned Hawk vs. Mourning Dove

posted by Jeff Bilsky at
on Monday, February 20, 2012 

When I woke up this morning and looked out the window, the first thing I saw was how much it had snowed. The second thing I saw was a female Sharp-shinned Hawk (which I mistakenly thought was a Cooper's Hawk - whoops) feasting on a Mourning Dove. I captured some pics of it through my phone cam via scope. Not the best quality by any stretch, but I thought it was pretty cool. A little morbid by some perspectives, but I found it fascinating. Anyone else have regular raptor hunting in their backyards? I've seen the following raptors in my neighborhood: American Kestrels, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Merlins, and Western Screech Owls. It's great when you can just look out your back window and see some amazing things.






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Mexican Duck in Utah

posted by Ryan O'Donnell at
 

Mexican Duck, Anas (platyrhynchos) diazi, at First Dam, Logan, Utah.  Copyright Ryan P. O'Donnell.  
If you follow Utah Birdtalk/Birdnet, you already know that on February 5th, about two weeks ago, my friend Craig Fosdick found a very interesting duck at First Dam in Logan, Utah.  It was a Mexican Duck; probably the northernmost record of the species, and only the third from Utah.  Mexican Ducks are easy to overlook, and many readers of this blog might have never heard of one before.  Even the experienced birders Craig was with at the time hardly gave this unique vagrant a second look.

First, what is a Mexican Duck?  That question is not easy to answer.  According to the American Birding Association and the American Ornithologists Union, it is a subspecies of Mallard.  But that view is considered by some to be antiquated and inaccurate.  Recent genetic work has shown that the Mexican Duck may actually be its own species, and it is at least as unique as several other species such as the Laysan Duck and the Mottled Duck.  The picture is complicated, however, because Mallards contain several genetic lineages, and thus to have species boundaries that reflect mitochondrial gene phylogenies, one would either have to split Mallards based on strictly genetics, or else consider "Mallards" to include Laysan Ducks, American Black Ducks, Mottled Ducks, and many others, which obviously does not reflect biology well.  This is an area that is in need of additional research, particularly in generating phylogenies and assessing hybridization with nuclear molecular markers.

Phylogeny of Mallard-group ducks, modified from Johnson and Sorenson 1999, based on mitochondrial DNA sequences.  Note that Mallards appear twice here, having (at least) two different mitochondrial sequences.  Also note that Mexican Ducks are as distinct from Mallards as many other groups that we know of as species.

The definition of species within the Mallard group is confusing, but perhaps even more so in the case of Mexican Ducks, because our understanding of this species is clouded by hybridization with Mallards in Arizona and New Mexico.  A classic study of morphology in Mexican Ducks found that there are virtually no pure Mexican Ducks anywhere in the species range, according to a numerical scale of morphology that ranges from pure Mexican Duck to pure Mallard.  However, an alternative interpretation of the same dataset is that our definition of what identifies a pure Mexican Duck is too narrow, and that pure Mexican Ducks can show traits that have once been taken to be indicative of Mallards.

With respect to the duck seen recently in Logan, this appears about as close to a pure Mexican Duck as one can expect at the northern part of the range of the (sub)species.  There is very little green on the head.  The bill is bright yellow.  The tail shows no patches of white.  The speculum has green iridescence, and is bordered only thinly by white.  The rump and undertail coverts match the flanks well in color, showing no obvious indication of the black that a male Mallard has in these areas.  The belly is dark, matching the color of the rest of the bird well.  The only part that seems to show some obvious Mallard ancestry is that the central retrices (tail feathers) curl up slightly off the plane of the tail, hinting at the curled central tail feathers of an adult male Mallard.  But, with how little we know of "pure" Mexican Ducks, perhaps this is not outside the range of variation shown by them?  Only an extensive study of morphological variation and nuclear DNA across the range of the Mexican Duck and Mallard can really address this question well.

The Mexican Duck looks a lot like a female Mallard, but darker and (in a male, such as this one) with a bright yellow bill.  Copyright Ryan P. O'Donnell.
The Mexican Duck's speculum has more of a green iridiscence, compared to the purple of a Mallard's, although the color varies somewhat with the angle of view.  Also note here how, unlike a male Mallard, the rump is about the same color as the flanks and the tail is dark, without white.  Copyright Ryan P. O'Donnell.

Unlike a Mallard, the lower belly is not noticeably paler than the flanks or breast.  The bright white underwing coverts are a trait shared by male Mexican Ducks and male Mallards.  Copyright Ryan P. O'Donnell.

This angle can be tough to see in the field, but it shows how the back of the Mexican Duck is generally dark, and the speculum is only thinly bordered by white, not boldly bordered by white like a Mallard's speculum.  Note that at this angle the speculum looks more purple than green, like a Mallard's.  Copyright Ryan P. O'Donnell.
As rare birds go, this individual might be pretty easy to find.  It has been seen over the last two weeks at First Dam in Logan.  Watch for a duck that looks a bit like a female Mallard, but is darker and has a bright yellow bill.  While I don't advocate feeding park ducks, it is a common practice at this park, and if you happen to time your visit when a local is feeding them, this duck might come right out in the open and fight with the other local domestic breeds for bread.  Otherwise, you might get lucky and see it swimming around on the water, or it might be sleeping on the far shore of the lake.  If it's not out in the open when you get there, try patiently scanning the sleeping ducks along the shoreline.

The Mexican Duck being seen at Logan's First Dam seems to have paired up with a female Mallard.  Note in this view how this Mexican Duck's central retrices lift slightly off the others, perhaps indicating a small amount of Mallard heritage.  Copyright Ryan P. O'Donnell.

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The Ides of February... And Harlan's Hawks!

posted by Tim Avery at
on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 


February. Yuck.  I think for many birders this is a thought that runs through their minds.  It’s the tail end of the winter--it’s been cold, cloudy, and snowy (most winters).  In Salt Lake we’ve had the wonderful inversion choking the air.  The excitement of new winter arrivals has long passed.  This winter we had hopes that Redpolls and Snowy owls would be abound--but in the end our chunk of state has largely missed by these irruptions.  Surrounding states had more than their fair share and are still seeing plenty of these delightful birds.  For the craziest of us, winter gulls tide us over till March reaches us and the first spring arrivals cover the state.  But for others there isn't a ton to look forward to.  We do have the annual Snow and Ross's goose Migration that will peak here in the next 2 weeks, but that's almost a spring starter and if you wait long enough you can catch them in northern Utah the first week of March--by then it's basically spring right?

Snow and Ross's Geese in northern Utah

But what about the ides of February?  The middle of the dreariest most boring month of the year in Utah?  What is there to keep us focused till the calendar pages turn to March and we can start dreaming about fallouts and warblers?  Well that is truly up to you!  February has it's highlights just like any other month, but unless you get in the field to look you will miss those things.  This past weekend a group of us had a 7 gull species day and also picked up Wood Ducks, and Greater White-fronted Goose.  It was a dreary and cold day but the birding was amazing.

Glaucous Gull composite--part of a 7 gull sp. day

Utah Birder Carl Ingwell challenged Utah Birders to submit as many checklists as possible into eBird this month.  I accepted the challenge and have submitted more than 100 checklists in the past 15 days.  I have made a habit of entering a multitude of lists every day that cover my every move outside of my house or office.  I thought this was a great challenge and hope other will grab the reigns and make an effort to enter more checklists in these "boring" months--hopefully leading to even more checklists when there are lots of birds around.

I've also continued my daily treks around Lehi checking the same fields, ditches, tree lines, and fence posts that I have all winter.  I've seen a lot of the same birds but that's okay.  I have made a habit of trying to track down a  wintering Harlan's Hawk almost daily.  Before this winter I could count on 2 fingers the number of Harlan's Hawks I had seen--which matched the number of encounters...  This winter I have seen at least 7 different individuals on countless occasions.  Just today I added a new one for the winter, and besides being another Harlan's Hawk, it provided me with a great photo opportunity...

Harlan's Hawk in Lehi, Utah

What I am getting at is birding is what you make of it.  Even when there aren't a lot of birds around, and even when it's the end of one season and you've been looking at the same birds the past 4 months, you can find something to make it just as exciting as seeing that first migrant each spring and fall.  So make the most of these next two weeks and get out in the field, or your yard, park, parking lot at work--wherever.  Enjoy the waning days of winter, they'll be gone soon, and with them all the birds from the great white north.

Harlan's Hawk in Lehi, Utah

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Valentine's Day Serenade

posted by Kenny Frisch at
on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 

Hi, my name is Kenny Frisch and this is my first blog post to the Utah Birders Blog. I would like to thank them for allowing me to blog on this site. I moved out to Salt Lake City 3 months ago and have been loving the birding in this state. It has been fun getting to learn and study the birds out here and to see the similarities and differences in the birds here and back in Rochester, NY where I moved from.

Today I went searching for American Dippers in Parley's Historical Site. Even with dogs roaming all over this park, I have been able to find dippers here and they don't seem too affected by their presence. After walking along the creek for a while, I heard a song coming from the creek ahead of me. I headed to the creek to search for the source of the song and found the culprit, an American Dipper! I watched and listened to the bird singing for about 10 minutes and managed to get a video of it singing. I guess it didn't have a valentine yet. Here is the video I took:



Spring is on its way.

Good birding,

Kenny

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A New Quiz Song

posted by Tim Avery at
on Monday, February 13, 2012 

This isn't one you hear everyday, but is the typical song of a species that breeds in Utah. I took this video this winter while in southern California. You might need to replay the video a couple times as I only recorded the song once--and it's short at only 3 seconds. Take a listen below:


Please feel free to answer in the comments section, or discuss and ask questions if you're not sure!

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Just a raptor note - extra pic

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Thursday, February 9, 2012 


Here are some 2nd-year Cooper's Hawks (birds in their first adult plumage) with retained juvenile flight feathers (the pale brownish ones). Note the lack of any grayish color and the more distinct banding of the juvenile feathers.

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Just a raptor note

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 


Some adult hawks can look 'juvenile-like'. Check out this Cooper's Hawk I photographed in 1999 at the Goshute Mountains in Nevada ('click' to enlarge). The barring on the underside is much less dense than a typical adult Cooper's Hawk. I have seen this on a few birds over the years, and several that I was able to see well had been in their first adult plumage (note the juvenile outermost primary, not to be confused with a retained old adult primary). Not saying this is a 'second-year' plumage only, but it may be. It is very uncommon otherwise, and almost all Cooper's Hawks (and many other species) in their first adult plumage are identical or nearly identical to older adults.

Its just neat to share an oddball bird....I have many in my collection to share. Funny, I have numerous blips to post about accipiters...seems that they are always an ID issue.

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Book review: Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Saturday, February 4, 2012 


Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America -- by Steve N.G. Howell

I'm going to keep this review short and sweet...there is no reason to go on and on. First, I'm not an expert on seabirds, and second, the following is all you need to know:

This latest endeavor by Steve Howell: Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America (Princeton University Press) is amazing!!!! The guide is as comprehensive and thorough as it can be. It takes years and years (a lifetime) of study and work to gain the knowledge and photographs to complete a work such as this, and we are lucky to have Steve Howell around to share this insight. Mr. Howell treats each species status, flight style, distribution, plumage, molt, etc. clearly and concisely. The captions fit nicely with the chosen photos and, even though I am not as well versed in the groups of birds covered in this guide as I am with others, I can see and figure out for myself that the information is spot-on. The choice of photos is excellent, Most are beautiful plumage and shape representations, and the selected photos that show birds in fog, poor light, or at odd angles are necessary for the reasons described.

This book is fairly large, but it has to be to cover the extent of variation among species and related information discussed within. Quite frankly, Mr. Howell did a wonderful job by not presenting even more information. I'm sure he edited several things to keep the book digestable and keep it from overwhelming readers...a "necessary evil" in publishing. It would be difficult to use a general book this size as a field guide, but this book is very doable on a pelagic trip, and even more valuable as a reference guide.

The Introduction is valuable in itself, don't miss out on reading it before delving into the book. In short, I have only good things to say about this book, and feel it is critical to own for anyone who studies birds and petrels, albatrosses, and storm-petrels in particular.

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Birding SoCal in January

posted by Tim Avery at
on Thursday, February 2, 2012 

This past November, my wife's work decided to send her to Carlsbad, California to be certified in diamond grading.  She had to fly out for the last week in January and would be in classes all week during the day.  So I decided to join her halfway through the week so I could get a couple days of birding in southern California in.  I flew into Long Beach on Wednesday and drove down the coast to Carlsbad.  Along the highway one of the first birds I spotted was a WHITE-TAILED KITE hovering over an open field.  I had a feeling that after seeing my long time nemesis in southern Utah earlier in the month that I would see multiple on this trip.  It ended up being the first of 4 I saw during the 2 ½ days along the coast--as with most nemesis birds, it seems like after you finally get one you see them everywhere.

Utah Birds
White-tailed Kite Composite
1 of 4 seen while in Cali

Once in Carlsbad I wasted no time going to the beach--there would be gulls after all and that would keep me happy for a couple hours.  I quickly found a mixed flock of Western, California, Ring-billed, and my favorite white-headed gull species--the HEERMANN'S GULL.  I spent some time admiring these birds, while also scanning the surf, picking up SURF SCOTER and PACIFIC LOON, and a couple of Dolphins that cruised by.

Utah Birds
My Favorite white-headed Gull
Heermann's Gull at Carlsbad State Beach

I drove up into Carlsbad and spotted a couple of hawks soaring that resembled Swainson's.  When I got my binoculars on them I was greeted by two light adult birds--pretty good for the area in the winter. I ended the first day waiting for Sam at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) enjoying the chorus of chipping Yellow-rumped Warblers and whistling Cedar Waxwings.


Utah Birds
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Carlsbad

On Thursday after dropping Sam off I headed down the coast towards San Diego.  I stopped at Cardiff State Beach and got great shots of a ROYAL TERN on the beach.  A nice mix of gulls here included 1 Glaucous-winged Gull.

Utah Birds
Royal Tern at Cardiff State Beach

I planned on stopping several more times, but there weren't any great beaches for birding the further south I went.  By the time I got to Torrey Pines the roads were a mess as a PGA tour event was happening.  After 40 minutes to just get past I decided to go to Mission Beach and the San Diego River where I knew there would be birds. At Mission Beach there were a couple SANDERLING and one BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER.  I saw my first Large-billed Savannah Sparrow along the jetty here too.

Utah BirdsL
Large-billed Savannah Sparrow at Mission Beach

After exhausting the birds on the Jetty I headed to the south side of the San Diego River at a place called Robb Field. It was birding bliss.  There were 100's of shorebirds on the mudflats here, joined by hundreds of gulls and around a dozen wading birds.  Scanning through the Black-bellied Plovers I found Dunlin, Red Knots, Dowitchers, Sandpipers, Turnstones, Yellowlegs, and more.  The best find were 2 Golden-Plovers, which I would assume were PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER based off timing.  There were also hundreds of Godwits and smaller numbers of Curlews and Whimbrel.

Utah Birds
Pacific Golden-Plover with Black-bellied Plovers
San Diego River at Robb field

The waders included Great and Snowy Egrets, and several LITTLE BLUE HERON.  As I scanned the beach one of the "blue herons" caught my eye.  It seemed lanky as it was walking and I wondered if it might be a REDDISH EGRET.  It was about 300 yards down river so I headed that direction.  When I got there the bird clearly had a pink base to the bill, and when it started dancing I started taking pictures!

Utah Birds
Reddish Egret in the San Diego River at Robb Field

Later I found out that this bird had been up and down the river the past month--so it wasn't a huge fine, but still cool non-the-less.  I went back to the river 2 more times, and on both occasions the bird was in the same area.  In the afternoon I headed back north to pick Sam up.  We headed over to Carlsbad State Beach where the gull flock was joined by a MEW GULL.  After enjoying the beach and sunset we called it a night.

Utah Birds
Mew Gull at Carlsbad State Beach

Utah Birds
Sunset at Carlsbad State Beach

After the Reddish Egret I decided to hop on the San Diego listserv and see what else had been around that might be worth checking out on Friday.  There were a couple birds I could fit into to the plans I already had--most notably a Thick-billed Kingbird in Chula Vista just a couple miles from the Mexico border and a Yellow-crowned Night-Herons at Tijuana Slough NWR where I was already heading to look for Clapper Rail in the afternoon.  After dropping Sam off on Friday morning I hopped on the I-5 and headed straight to San Diego.  My first stop was Mission Bay where someone had posted about a roosting flock of 50 BLACK SKIMMERS.  I added my lifer skimmer last February just up the coast, but didn't get any pictures since the birds were 500 yards away.  The area in Mission was called Crown Point, and after getting there and checking several beaches I hadn't found anything. As I was getting ready to leave I saw 4 skimmers flying out over the bay.  They were headed out towards the ocean so I figured I must have missed the flock and these were stragglers.  As I drove out I noticed a huge flock of shorebirds on the beach that I had missed driving in.  I pulled over and as I put my binoculars up I was shocked to see dozens of skimmers intertwined with a huge flock of black-bellied Plovers.

Utah Birds
Black Skimmers at Crown Point

I drove back to the parking area and grabbed my camera and headed down the beach.  It was about a ¼ mile and the whole time I hoped the birds wouldn't flush.  As luck would have it, they didn't--but instead allowed me to walk right up within about 30 to 40 feet and watch them.

Utah Birds
Black Skimmer at Crown Point

I counted 130 skimmers in the flock which also had Dunlin, Knots, Sandpipers, and Dowitchers mixed in.  I spent about an hour admiring the colorful and incredible bills on the skimmers before heading out.  As I started to leave it was perfect timing as two joggers ran right through the flock sending them every which way.  I was able to get some flight shots of the skimmers and the flock of shorebirds as they circled--eventually landing just 200 yards form the parking lot.


Utah Birds
Plovers, Dunlin, Knots, Sandpipers, and Dowitchers
at Crown Point

I headed back to the north jetty of the river where I enjoyed a nice flock of SURFBIRDS with a couple BLACK TURNSTONE mixed in.  A flyby WANDERING TATTLER was the only of the trip.   I swung by Robb Field again and the same mix of birds was present as the day before--but many fewer plovers, and no Pacifics. From Robb Field I drove south into Point Loma and out to Cabrillo National Monument.  I just wanted to check out the lighthouse and go somewhere I hadn't been before.  From my car I could hear Purple Finches, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, Orange-crowned Warblers, and California Towhees singing.  When I got out in the parking area a couple CALIFORNIA TOWHEES came right in almost on top of my feet.

Utah Birds
California Towhee at Cabrillo National Monument

After leaving the park I headed back into Point Loma and drove though the neighborhoods listening for parrots or parakeets.  I figured I would hear one sooner or later, as this has worked for me elsewhere in California and Costa Rica.  It only took about 10 minutes before I found a group of about 10 BLUE-HEADED PARAKEETS with a couple MITRED PARAKEETS mixed in.  Neither are really considered "wild", but just like the Nanday they seem to be doing fine one their own and were a treat to see.

Utah Birds  Utah Birds
Blue-headed and Mitred Parakeets at Point Loma

Trying to keep to schedule to get back and pick Sam up, I hopped on the interstate and headed towards Chula Vista to see if I could snag a lifer THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD.  It was only like a 15 minute drive and when I got there it took a couple minutes to pin point the area in the neighborhood that the directions pointed to.  In the end it wasn't the directions, but the bird chattering from it's perch at the top of a Sycamore that gave it away.  I quickly found a spot to park and walked to a place where I could get a good view with the sun in a good spot for photos.  The bird couldn't have picked a higher point in the tree--and sat there for 15 minutes while I watched.  What a honker on this beauty.

Utah Birds
Lifer Thick-billed Kingbird in Chula Vista

From here I made my way to Imperial Beach and the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge.  There had been a variety of really good birds reported here in the past month, but I was unable to find any of them--including the Night-Herons.  Instead I hoofed it on the path out into the refuge as the tide was receding to look for CLAPPER RAILS.  I got great looks as Belding's Savannah Sparrows, as well as 2 more White-tailed Kites.  I hadn't seen a rail and was getting ready to leave when I spotted one scampering along the edge of a canal. I got a couple photos, before it disappeared back into the brush.  I had spent a great deal of time here looking for Hepatic Tanager and the herons and had coincidentally run out of time.  I had to head back to Carlsbad and pick up Sam.  We ended the day driving east to Palm Springs for the weekend.

Utah Birds
Clapper Rail at Tijuana Slough NWR

Saturday the birding was limited to a quick drive down to the north shore of the Salton Sea.  We ended up at the Old Salton Sea Yacht Club so I could scan through the gulls with the hopes of maybe pulling a Yellow-footed Gull out of the masses.  This species is regularly found on the lake in the summer but is rather rare in the winter.  There were about 1,000 gulls in the area, but the scoping was difficult because of the wind and the heat distortion from the sand on the beaches.  After a while I was going to give up when I caught a darker backed gull within the masses.  Big yellow bill, big yellow legs, a dark mantle--YELLOW-FOOTED GULL.  The bird was near a lot of Ring-billed, California, and Herring Gulls for comparison, and really stood out well.

Utah Birds
Yellow-footed Gull at the Old Salton Sea Yacht Club

I would love to come back to the Salton Sea at a couple different times of year as the birding just in this one spot was amazing.  Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel and decided to check out the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert.  I didn't expect to see a ton of wild birds here, but was pleasantly surprised with the wild birds mixed into the natural habitat alongside the caged creatures.  The best find was a ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER that when I initially saw I thought was a Dusky-capped.  I could barely see any rufous in the tail in the field but after looking at the pictures later I could see it was just the poor lighting.  Despite being common in the southwest in the summer, it is about as rare as Dusky-capped in this area during the winter.

Utah Birds
Out of season Ash-throated Flycatcher in Palm Desert

Oak Titmouse, White-winged Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Costa's Hummingbird, and Gambel's Quail were among the more prevalent Mourning Dove, White-crowned Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Lesser Goldfinch, and Anna's Hummingbirds..  Early in the afternoon we hit the road back to Long Beach to fly back to Salt Lake.  The weather all week was in the 70's and 80's and a nice change from the 20's and 30's back home all winter.  It was hard to leave such beautiful weather, and wonderful birding. I tallied 126 species in that time.  Given the right planning and some serious birding, 150-170 species should be easy this time of year over a weekend down there.

Good Birding
Tim

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Another Challenge

posted by CarlIngwell at
on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 

Okay, so I've been curious about what we can and can't accomplish with our blog, so I've decided to do an experiment.

I noticed that for the first two months of the year, we've been in the top 25 in checklists submitted to eBird. I want to see if we can't bump us up to the top ten in the month of February.

Here's my challenge (there seem to be a lot of challenges going around this year). I want everyone to submit as many eBird checklists as they possibly can. Submit a daily checklist from your home, work, or even along a stretch of freeway you're driving. It doesn't really matter if the checklist has a bunch of rare birds, or only has a couple house sparrows on it; data is data. Inner city data could be just as important as Farmington Bay's data, depending on the person you ask. So submit 3 checklists a day, submit 4 checklists a day! Submit as many as you can, from wherever you want.

Everyone that pledges to enter at least one checklist per day (average) for the entire month of February will be eligible to win a really cool bird book or prize. Whoever enters the most ebird checklists this month wins! If you don't want to compete for the prize, I still encourage entering as many checklists as possible :).

Good luck to all!

Carl

PS: We're currently #25. Let's crack the top 10.

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