by Marilyn and Keith Davis

Part One: "Tales of Four Birders: Keith and Marilyn Davis, Carol Davis (Salt Lake),
and newcomer Ken Rusnell (Washington)".

       Sunshine! What a difference it makes when you are looking for birds on a cold winter day! We were at the Zion Christmas Bird Count and started counting at the switchbacks, tunnel going east..... and there was nary a bird. The eastern side of the park, still shrouded in early morning shadows was J. L. Crawfords Western
                                            Scrub Jayquiet, clear, and lifeless. As we traveled past the East Entrance we went out of the shadows into sunlight and we saw deer everywhere... and then, we found birds! For the rest of the day, as the sun warmed up east Zion, we had a spectacular bird count.

       One of the super sightings of the day was immature Bald Eagles, dressed in their motley collection of camouflage feathers. Wild Turkeys were all about. While sneaking up a wet, slick gully, to spy on a flock of over 50 turkeys, Ken slipped and fell in the wet clay, and then I topped his slip with a spectacular slip and slide, and made myself into a mud snowman. It’s things like this that make "birding" not only enjoyable, but entertaining.

       There were lots of Scrub Jays. Alongside a gully, we stopped to check a wooded area. Such a loud racket was going on.....something was being harassed by the Scrub Jays. Woops....a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk, an aerial predator, came flying out and went off to look for a more peaceful perch. Numbers make a difference; the large flock of Scrub Jays were able to drive off a predator who would gladly eat them one at a time. What a great day in Zion. So much to tell! But...the rest of this story continues next week.

       J. L. Crawford was unable to be at this Zion CBC. I don’t believe he has skipped a year since it began. So this year J. L. contributed with his drawing of the Western Scrub Jay. Thank you J. L. Crawford. You and your wife Fern are an example to all of us (in 2011 we lost J. L. but we will always remember him. He loved life and he loved birds!)

        Remember, if you wish to participate in the St. George (Dec. 26), and the Silver Reef (Dec. 27) Christmas Bird Counts, call Marilyn Davis at 435 673-0996. We need your support, and you need a fun day.

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