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FLAMMY: A Trip Report

posted by Tim Avery at
on Friday, July 15, 2011 

On Wednesday, July 13th, Jeff Bilsky and I led a handful of Utah Birders into East Canyon to look for owls, nightjars, and a handful of other mid-elevation riparian and aspen species. Norm and Gail Jenson, Shyloh and Deedee Robinson, and Nancy and John Matro joined me at the Mountain Dell Crossing for a little pre-dark birding. Here we had the usual Yellow Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Song Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Tree Swallow, and Cliff Swallow. Driving up to Big Mountain Pass we stopped again, and after the wind died down a little the birds started coming out. Red-naped Sapsucker, Western Tanager, Warbling Vireo, Green-tailed Towhee, Hermit Thrush, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, and Violet-green Swallow were seen among other things.

We headed down into East Canyon and the Jeremy Ranch Road where Jeff Bilsky met up with us to bird along the road. The wind was blowing a little stronger than we would have like but it died down form time to time and the birds perked up when that happened. Along the road we saw and or heard Gray Catbird, Fox Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Swainson's Thrush, Mountain Bluebird, and American Goldfinch to name a few. Here before dusk we picked up our first nocturnal species with several COMMON NIGHTHAWKS soaring out of the fields and trees along the road.

L to R: Norm and Gail Jenson, Shyloh and Deedee Robinson,
Nancy and John Matro and in the back, Jeff Bilsky

We tried for Great Horned Owl here, but the wind wasn't cooperating. We decided to head up into the canyon to a pretty reliable spot for Flammulated Owl. When we got there we were thankfully out of the wind. After a short walk and literally 5 toots from the iPod a FLAMMY started singing from about 10-15 feet away. After getting a glimpse of him flying past he perched nicely on a limb for several minutes allowing everyone great looks--a lifer for several folks on the trip.

Having nailed the target species so quickly we headed back to the cars and further up the canyon to try for a few other species. At our next stop as we got out of the car I looked across the road and spotted a GREAT HORNED OWL perched atop a conifer, the silhouette showing nicely. Most of the groups either saw the bird perched or as it flew off into the forest.

The wind picked up and although we tried for saw-whet and pygmy-owls, and poorwill we struck out on all three. None-the-less it was a great night to be out birding in the beautiful mountains, just minutes form Salt Lake City! Thanks to those who attended, we have added $30 to our donation pool for a local conservation organization as part of our goal to help promote and protect habitat and birds in the state of Utah.

Lastly, please don't ask for specifics on where we saw owls, as I won't share that information to make these Little guys don't get harassed.

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Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

What a great night of birding. While we missed a few of the other owls, that view we had of a Flammy is pretty hard to beat.

July 15, 2011 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Bummed I couldn't go - my husband was out of town so I had kid duty. Maybe next time. Sounds like you had fun!

July 15, 2011 at 10:55 AM  

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