June 11, 2017
The day was beautiful as we made our way to Dale and Judy Pettit’s home for a “Sit Down - Bird Field Trip”. This was Central, Utah and the weather was much cooler in a higher elevation. What a treat to see the beautiful bird gardens in both front and back yards. I’m sure each of us got some new ideas how we could have a more “bird friendly” home, inside and out. All we needed now was time and effort.
There were birds galore. Why not? There were seeds, sweet water, yummy plants, nest boxes, and water features all over the place. Some of us opted to sit on the front porch. Some opted to sit at the back patio. Some opted to stay indoors and sit in a comfortable plush chair or sofa looking out the windows.
Judy served a brunch of wonderful food to eat and then Dale rallied us together to enjoy Native American flute music. Birds, food, music, and of course great people to be around made it a very special day. Birds seen were: Woodhouse's Jay (Scrub Jay), House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Anna's Hummingbird, Eurasian-collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Juniper Titmouse, Black-headed Grosbeak, Mountain Bluebird, Turkey Vulture, Gambel’s Quail, Red-tailed Hawk, and Cooper’s Hawk.
Below are some photos of the trip taken by Marilyn Davis and Maria Jeffs:
At home at anybody's home - got any peanuts? (Maria Jeffs)
Anyone want a cone - cinder cone, that is? (Marilyn Davis)
Gross? - No, beautiful! Black-headed Grosbeak (Maria Jeffs)
Heaven for the birds. (Marilyn Davis)
The Heavenly owners (Pettits) and friend. (Marilyn Davis)
Scrub Jay - a sly genius of the bird world. (Maria Jeffs)
Where are the birders - here they are! (Marilyn Davis)
Oasis in the hot desert. Thanks for the water. (Maria Jeffs)
The flutiest of the bunch. (Marilyn Davis)
God bless America. Land that we love. (Maria Jeffs)
Please join us next time.
April 15, 2017
Who doesn’t want to go to Lytle for a Field Trip? ? ? Lytle Ranch is a place you can always count on for great birds and plant life. That’s just what happened this day. Twelve enthusiastic birders made their way across Old Highway 91, up over Utah Hill and out west to Lytle. Nobody complained about how early we had to get up - that it was almost 35 miles west of town. Nobody complained about the dirt road turnoff or about how cold it was when the wind blew while walking. Nobody complained – because we got to go to Lytle!
Birds seen: Gambel's Quail, Golden Eagle, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Eurasian Collared-dove, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Costa's Hummingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Say's Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo, Loggerhead Shrike, Common Raven, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Mountain Bluebird, Phainopepla, Lucy's Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Cassin's Finch, Turkey Vulture, Ravens, Mockingbird.
A few photos, courtesy of Marilyn:
Brittle Brush bonanza
Red Mountain's majesty
Reaching for the sky
See you next time.
Raptor Trip - Beryl, Utah
Saturday, November 12, 2016
If you lived 37 miles from Raptor Country, how often would you visit? Not often enough. But this year we had a Field Trip to Beryl and – Oh, what fun! And Oh, what Raptors! There were 10 Ferruginous Hawks, 6 Rough-legged Hawks, 4 Northern Harriers, 15 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 American Kestrel, 1 Prairie Falcon, and 5 Golden Eagles.Please join us next time!
There were also 2 Loggerhead Shrikes (we sorta counted them as Raptors because they are known to eat other birds). We didn’t bother to count the Pigeons, Mourning Doves, Starlings, Canada Geese, Lewis's Woodpecker, Scrub Jay or a few others the group saw. Raptors were the thing . . . but it was the huge group of maybe 92 horses that caught all our eyes, right in the middle of a huge acreage. First we noticed the dust of running horses, and when the dust settled we saw the horses. This is the specialty of birding . . . the unexpected! Here are a few photos:
Red Cliffs Audubon Field Trip
to LOCAL PONDS
October 15. 2016
Southern Utah has wonderful places for field trips to see birds. Tonaquint Park is a ‘wild area’ full of birds right in the center of St. George. Springs Park features any and all birds migrating along the Virgin River. Washington Fields has a super stop-over pond right next to the road. St. George Golf Course has lots of mixed migrants and resident bird species. Then there is Quail Lake and Sand Hollow Reservoirs (best with spotting scopes). Grandpa’s Pond and Stone Bridge. Ivins and Gunlock Reservoirs. Upper and Lower Sand Cove. Desert Gardens on top of the Red Hill, and many, many more places to go. It’s a great way to get acquainted with all the wet spots and the great birding places in southern Utah.~~~
We got to watch a special show of a Red-tailed Hawk building a nest on a golf course. Back and forth, again and again it flew, taking soft branches from one tree to a larger tree with more protection. Kinda weird since it wasn’t springtime. But if the weather’s warm in October, why not build a nest?
We saw 25 species as follows: American Wigeon, American Kestrel, American Coot, Belted Kingfisher, Red-tailed Hawk, Abert’s Towhee, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Gambel’s Quail, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, White-faced Ibis, Common Raven, European Starling, Great-tailed Grackle, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Mallard, Lesser Scaup, White-crowned Sparrow, Great Egret, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Just a few photos this time by Marilyn Davis:
Where are the coots? This a golf course, isn't it?
Don't fence me in.
Legal parking. Springs Pond.
Field Trip to Lytle Ranch
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Everyone wants to go to Lytle, so when we have a field trip scheduled, we know it will be great. However . . . September is a busy time in southern Utah with Fairs, Ballgames, 5K Runs, Art Shows, etc. etc. etc. In spite of everything going on, we met – and we went to Lytle. There were no flowers blooming on the deserts but the scenery was gorgeous. Fewer birds singing but the birds we found were perfect for a great day.
We saw White-crowned Sparrow, Wild Turkey, Western Wood-Pewee, Northern Flicker, Morning Dove, Common Raven, Turkey Vulture, American Kestrel, House Finch, Cooper's Hawk, Black Phoebe, Belted Kingfisher, Say's Phoebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Dusky Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Hooded Oriole, Cedar Waxing, Western Tanager, Gambel's Quail, Summer Tanager, Bewick's Wren, and Yellow Warbler.
The weather was also perfect as were the birders who came to Lytle. This was a first time for many of them, and it won’t be the last.
Since we forgot a camera for this trip, please enjoy
some photos from other trips by birders and some
photos by friends we met at Lytle:
That rock has a lot of horns - wait, it's a lizard.
You can't see me!
Are you going to Lytle?
How many songs can he sing anyway?
Someone get me a ladder.....backed!
Old friends and new friends.
We love Lytle!
Please join us next time.
Field Trip to Cedar Breaks
July 16, 2016
Be sure to remember each July that it is a special month in the mountainous areas. Especially at Cedar Breaks, because this is when the wildflowers come to life. Seven cars full of excited birders made their way up Cedar Mountain with hopes of birds....and flowers. We weren’t disappointed! On top, at Cedar Breaks, in the open fields and among the forest of trees were flowers everywhere! What a treat! To top this off, we saw the following birds: Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Northern Flicker, Western Wood-Pewee, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Clark's Nutcracker, Common Raven, Violet-green Swallow, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit thrush, American Robin, MacGillivray's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee, Cassin's Finch, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Red-tailed Hawk, and Turkey Vulture.
The Wildflower Festival is an annual event. Make it an annual “must see” . . . along with the abundance of birdlife getting away from that “not so cool” July heat.
Here are just a few of some pictures taken by Marilyn Davis:
Driving to the top of Cedar Mountain
Hop out in a beautiful spot to count the species.
Just look at those red rock formations!
Yep, they're red - shades of red.
Oh, the beauty!
Have you ever seen so many Common Yarrow?
Try not to get dizzy and turn your head to the right - smile!
A holy prophet, or maybe a bear.
The bear - Teddy, I think.
All the prophet's followers - and a square arch.
The square arch.
Sneaking up on flowers - and birders.
See you in September (hmm...reminds me of song)!
Field Trip to Central, Utah
June 11, 2016
It rained and there was thunder and lightning in the night. Who wants to go on a field trip to see birds in the rain? Who would not rather stay home in bed where it’s warm and dry? Answer: Nobody. That’s right, nobody wanted to miss out on a field trip to Central, Utah to see what birds would be there at Dale and Judy Pettit’s yard in spite of the rainy night.
Fourteen ‘determined birders’ made their way up Highway 18 at 7:00 a.m. with the air fresh and clean and the sun shining. What special effects were in store for the day? Who can forget the clouds drifting over the northern hills of Snow Canyon State Park. Who can forget the Lark Sparrow, the Kingbird, or the Cassin’s Finch that met us at the Central Fire Station, or the Turkey Vulture flying overhead? And when we arrived at the Pettit’s home there were many more birds flying in to say ‘Good Morning’ in the cool crisp air. Dale Pettit shared his Native American Flute music with us and even gave instructions to those who had an interest in playing the flutes. Judy Pettit made sure that all of us RCA Birders shared her yummy food this day, as all the birds outdoors shared the food she set out for them each day.
Birds seen were: Eurasian Collared-Dove, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Say's Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Western Scrub Jay, American Robin, Spotted Towhee, Black-headed Grosbeak, Hooded Oriole, House Finch, Cassin's Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Raven, Lark Sparrow, Turkey Vulture, Canada Goose, American Coot, and Mallard Duck.
A few photos from Marilyn Davis:
May 14, 2016
What’s good that happens in Spring? The old fashioned Mulberry Trees have available fruit for birds. It’s our belief that the birds heard about all the berry bearing Mulberry Trees in Grafton and came for a feast. The Birders came from all over southern Utah (two came from New York) hoping to find a tree full of beautiful birds . . . and we weren’t disappointed. The five vehicles pulled to the side of the dirt road, parked and spent the next hour just watching bird after colorful bird come to the Mulberry Tree for sweet berries.
Birds seen at the tree and around Grafton are as follows: American Kestrel, American Robin, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Bullock’s Oriole, Canada Goose (flyover; seen by Ken),
Common Raven, Common Yellowthroat, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Great Blue Heron, House Finch, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Phainopepla, Say’s Phoebe, Spotted Towhee, Vermilion Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Western Kingbird, Western Tanager, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, and unidentified Falcon.
Needless to say . . . a good time was had by all . . . including the birds. Check out the trip pictures below:
Let's Chat - no, let's find a Chat!
I think I grew up there.
Meadow and trees - where the birds go to eat.
Ken and Judy - visitors from New York.
Someone still lives here - and works the land?
A nice group of birders.
Come with us next time - to Kolob Reservoir.
April 16, 2016
When it’s Springtime and the desert is blooming . . . a little wind isn’t gonna stop determined birders being outdoors. It was Spring. The desert was blooming. Birds at Lytle Ranch must have blown in from parts unknown because they were there, and we had a great field trip on Saturday.
Birds were seemingly everywhere, and nowhere. The Phainopepla were undisturbed by the wind as they perched atop the small trees around the ranch house. Bell's Vireo could be heard everywhere but, because of the wind, were hiding in the bushes. Once in a while we'd be lucky enough to see a few birds like Turkeys, Bewick's Wren, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Goldfinch and Lucy's Warblers but most of the birds preferred to be hidden away from the cold wind.
You would never believe that yesterday, 50 miles away, it was snowing in Cedar . . . but then, that’s how it is when you live in St. George . . . the sun shines when the surrounding mountains are covered with snow. Steve Hedges was our Field Trip leader. We had a great time, despite the wind, and enjoyed each bird and the desert dressed in colorful blooms. Please join us next time for a fun time with good friends.
Birds heard or seen at the ranch, on the road to the ranch and some places on the way home were: Red-breasted merganser, wild turkey, Gambel's quail, turkey vulture, sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk, killdeer, Eurasian collared-dove, black-chinned hummingbird, Costa's hummingbird, Say's phoebe, black phoebe, ash-throated flycatcher, ladder-backed woodpecker, Bell's vireo, loggerhead shrike, common raven, violet-green swallow, verdin, bewick's wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, phainopepla, northern mockingbird, Lucy's warbler, Lincoln's sparrow, lesser goldfinch, house finch, yellow warbler, house sparrow, blue-gray gnatcatcher, western kingbird, chipping sparrow, verdin, and song sparrow.
Photos contributed by Marilyn Davis and Carol Davis are below;
On the road to Lytle Ranch.
Cactus in bloom.
Four's a charm.
Chipping Sparrows - can you see them?
A lonely bloom.
Mergansers hiding in the shadows at the pond.
What lives in the desert - everything!
March 12, 2016
In a bird’s world it’s the female who gets to choose who the number one contender will be. It will be the handsomest, best singer/crooner and the all-around athlete. Male birds make a great effort to be seen and heard and to be chosen. It’s March and there’s only one and a half months for the males to make a perfect impression on the females.
A group of bird enthusiasts traveled to the Parowan Gap Lek to watch the magnificent Sage Grouse Display. It was worth getting up and traveling 74 miles before dawn just to be there and see this happening. This lek is further south than all the other Sage Grouse breeding grounds.
After leaving the Lek we traveled through the Gap looking to find other birds who call this area home or a stop-over point when migrating.
We saw the Greater Sage-Grouse, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, American Kestrel, Great Blue Heron, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Common Merganser, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Rock Pigeon, Say's Phoebe, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Canyon Wren, Dark-eyed Junco, Western Meadowlark, Northern Harrier, various waterfowl and Red-winged Blackbird. We also saw a huge heard of sheep, bells tinkling, walking across the paved road. It was a beautiful morning and a great way to get outdoors and enjoy this wonderful world of our.
Thanks to Marilyn Davis and Maria Jeffs for contributing the following photos:
Sunrise at the Lek - Fantastic! (M. Jeffs)
Two Male Sage Grouse displaying in the distance. (M. Jeffs)
Birders watching the display. (M. Davis)
Northern Harrier over the mud flats. (M. Jeffs)
Birders taking a closer look. (M. Davis)
Peregrine Falcon nesting site. (M. Jeffs)
Waterfowl galore. (M. Jeffs)
A real treat - Pronghorn. (M. Jeffs)
Sheep, sheep and more sheep. (M. Davis)
Great Blue Heron looking for a landing spot. (M. Jeffs)
Great Blue Heron - landing and our last bird of the day. (M. Jeffs)
Thanks to all. See you next time!
February 13, 2016
If it’s 27 degrees at 8:00 in the morning in Iron County, the rest of the day just has to be good . . . and it was. Birders came to see raptors in Parowan Valley . . . and we did. Field Trip leader Steve Hedges knew each country road and all the places birds hang out. The snow was thick in the fields, and some of the surrounding mountains were completely white . . . but wasn’t this winter? Some pretty strange sights, like raptors picking up food and taking it to a nest sight. Like finding a large nest on one side of a tree and a male and female perched close together on the other side. Was it courting time?
Bird species seen were Canada Goose, Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Merlin, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Northern Shrike, Horned Lark, Common Raven, European Starling, White-crowned Sparrow, Great-tailed Grackle, House Finch, House Sparrow and a pet Peacock on the porch of a home with three cats for friends.
What a great way to spend a Saturday. Check out some of our pictures.
CEDAR VALLEY FIELD TRIP
November 14, 2015
We left St. George with the sun shining, but had winter coats and hats and gloves ready for when we got to Cedar City. Usually there is a huge difference in the temperature . . . but not this day. It was only the end of summer and not winter in Cedar Valley. Leaves were still on the trees. Lots of green and very little yellow. And there was even fresh cut and bailed hay in the hay fields. . . . like Dixieland.It started out a little brisk - but we were ready.
We looked for Raptors and found Ferruginous Hawks, Red Tails, Bald Eagles and a whole lot of Ravens. Open fields were full of sheep, down from the higher mountains. Had the Raptors put off their regular time of migration because of the unusual weather we have been having? Whatever was happening, it was a great day to be out with friends and meet new friends like our Rasmussen Redheads. These little kids wanted to know what we were doing and took us home to visit their parents. It's never to early to start them birding.
Go outdoors and greet the fall as it falls into winter. Here is a list of birds seen on our Cedar Valley field trip: Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Bald Eagle, Eurasian-collared Dove, Common Raven, Black-billed Magpie, House Finch, White-crowned Sparrow, House Sparrow, Starling, Western Meadowlark, Scrub Jay, Ruby-crowned Kinglet.....and fresh-bailed hay. Marilyn Davis had these pictures to share:
The Bald Eagles lounging in the big trees.
Not to be outdone - one Ferruginous Hawk - look closely.
Hay in the fields behind the birders - is this November?
Gone to the dogs...prairie dogs.
The birds are up there, Marilyn.
The best view is the sometimes the loneliest.
Come with us next time!
Field Trip to Local Ponds
October 17, 2015
When the water is there, but the birds stay away. . . then there’s a problem. It was UEA and every parent was celebrating at Sand Hollow and Quail Lake. Boats were everywhere, and birds were staying out of their way. Then too . . . Grandpa’s Pond is going through a reconstruction period. A new park is in the planning as well as new homes. Wow! And birds were staying out of their way.
Soooooo . . . the Field Trip went to other areas. The pond off Larkspur Rd. held lots and lots of waterfowl as did the ponds off Bloomington Dr. Springs Park was another treat for weary birders, and Tonaquint Pond was the final destination. These places were new for some of our out-of-towners. It turned out to be a great field trip with really great people.
Birds seen were . . . Abert's Towhee, American Coot, American Kestrel, American Wigeon, Belted Kingfisher, Canada Goose, Common Raven, European Starling, Gambel's Quail, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Great-tailed Grackle, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Lesser Scaup, Mallard, Mute Swan, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, White-crowned Sparrow, White-faced Ibis, Wood Duck, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Pictures taken by Marilyn:
Beautiful morning sky and Canada Geese.
Where's your hat? Bombs away!
Springs Park pond year-rounders.
Birds and golf do mix.
Not looking for golf balls.
Just let them play through.
Tonaquint bird watchers.
We love this place!
A tree house (hbird nest).
Food for the quackers.
Come join us next time!
Field Trip to Cedar Breaks and Beyond
July 11, 2015
It started as a perfect day to drive to the mountains. A little too hot here in St. George . . . but at 10,000+ feet - it should be wonderful. The recent rains on Cedar Mountain made everything green and bloom with vigor. At Cedar Breaks we found we were in the middle of the Wildflower Festival. Sure enough, wildflowers filled the mountains, meadows and roadsides. And the Birds came to the Festival as well. When the clouds began covering the blue of the sky and rain mixed with hail fell on us . . . we took off for Parowan. The wildflowers were blooming even in Parowan Canyon. We went hiking in sunshine to see the many birds and a waterfall. A great time was had by all . . . including visiting Heritage Park where Pioneers began their settling the southern part of Utah. Birds seen:
Cedar Breaks: Mountain Bluebird, Northern Flicker, Pine Siskin, American Robin, White-crowned Sparrow, Common Raven, Chipping Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Parowan Canyon Wildlife Management Area: Lazuli Bunting, Mountain Chickadee, Violet-green Swallow, MacGillivray's Warbler, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Green-tailed Towhee. Birds heard: Warbling Vireo, Black-headed Grosbeak. Keith and Marilyn also saw a Turkey Vulture on the way home.
May I borrow your jacket?
Blue on blue - Lazuli Bunting
Give us a Breaks!
What's that creeking? (Parowan Creek!)
Flowers and birding: Heaven scent.
Take a break.
Large bouquet - campground delight.
Birders all. A fantastic day.
Thanks to Marilyn Davis for the pictures. Please join us next time.
Oak Grove - Pinevalley Mountain
Saturday June 13, 2015
Everyone was eager to get away from the heat in southern Utah. The best place, the most scenic place – was Oak Grove. Besides being cooler, there are all kinds of birds also taking advantage of the coolness of the mountain. Fifteen souls followed Field Leader Steve Hedges into the Oak Grove forest. Birds were everywhere. Their songs filled the high mountain air with music. It was a great day . . . with great people. We watched parent birds feeding their young and several species following us to check us out as we roamed through the forest. The scenery was superb and the weather just right.
The group found 32 species. Gambel’s Quail, Cooper’s Hawk, Eurasian Collared Dove, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Northern Flicker, Plumbeous Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Common Raven, Violet-green Swallow, Mountain Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, European Starling, Phainopepla, Grace’s Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Great-tailed Grackle, Roadrunner, House Finch, House Sparrow, Scrub Jay, and Black-throated Sparrow.
Just a few fun photos to share so you'll want to join us next time:
Pine Valley Mountains
Birds everywhere! Flying, singing, nesting!
We're going to have birdseed pancakes - Marilyn's famous recipe (ask her about them.)
We had some birdseed pancakes - then those the birds stole them!
More colorful wildflowers.
Friends, birders - a good time.
The road home - do we have to go?