Red Cliffs Audubon
Adventures in the Field





mustang country

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. 
      
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:

Fabulous Ferruginous - notice the smile.

Rough-legged beauty.

Mustangs!

Thanks to Maria Jeffs for the spectacular photos.

Please join us next time!

~~~

reflections

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:


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birders at Lytle Ranch

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!

Mormon Metalmark

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.

~~~

cedar breaks

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:


volcanic area near Central Utah

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:


birders at Grafton

Grafton
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:


wild turkeys

Lytle Ranch
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;


~~~
 
sunrise at the Parowan lek

Parowan Gap
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:



~~~

birders

PAROWAN VALLEY
 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. 



brick Cedar Valley morning

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.  

       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:

It started out a little brisk - but we were ready.

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!

***
 
canada geese at Springs Pond

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.

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wildflowers at Cedar Breaks

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.


good 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:




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