All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Friday, January 30, 2009


Always in search of a new life bird I got excited about the many posts on the Utah Bird Net this last week of a flock of 400 + Evening Grosbeaks that have been observed on Lower River Road in Francis Utah. I took the opportunity today to go to Francis at the base of the Uintah Mountains and look for this bird that has eluded me all these years. The trip was well worth it, we were not disappointed. Frank Clawson and I left Friday morning and took the beautiful, scenic drive to Francis. We did see hundreds of Grosbeaks and Cedar Waxwings. I have included pictures of the Grosbeaks. Other birds seen were: Bald Eagle, Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, House Sparrow, European Starling, American Kestrel, American Robin, Cassin's Finch, American Gold Finch, Spotted Towhee, Red-tailed Hawk. Aside from the birds the scenery was spectacular, After several days of snow storms today was clear the snow glissened and the sky was incredibly blue. It was a great day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trip to Lytle Ranch, some nice pictures and 2 lifers

Nery and I took a short trip to Lytle ranch this weekend after attending a wedding reception for our daughter in law's sister in St George. There wasn't a huge varity of birds but the ones we did see were quite active. Pictured are Phainopepla and Verdin and a picture of Beaver Dam Wash.
List of birds seen:
Phainopepla, Common Black Hawk (life bird), Common Raven, Eurasian Collared Dove, White-crowned Sparrow, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Spotted Towhee, Belted Kingfisher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker (life Bird), Northern Flicker, Verdin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Greater Road Runner. The weather was great and it was a great trip.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Raptors

Winter time at Farmington Bay is Raptor time. Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks that are present all year become very active, Harriers flying low looking for voles, and Red-tails standing watch from trees and power poles. Kestrels also present all year are in their most brilliant colors and also very active. Also present and more active are the Short-eared Owls and Barn Owls. The Swainson's Hawks who spend the summer have all flown to South America, Bald Eagles and Northern Rough-legged Hawks have moved in to take their place for the winter. Rough-legged Hawks in my opinion are the most beautifully marked of all the hawks as they sore above hunting for prey. The markings under their wings remind me of a beautiful Indian Head-dress. Here are some pictures of the Northern Rough-legged hawk. for more pictures of all the birds of prey check out my web albums .

Thursday, January 1, 2009


My first guided tour of Farmington Bay when I was training to be a volunteer was lead by Don Paul, what a wonderful opportunity that I will never forget. During his lecture prior to the tour he made the comment that birding is serendipitous. You go out with a target bird and often don't see your target bird but something else and sometimes even better than what you were hoping to see. Well that happened to me today, my brother in law Frank Clawson and I had only a few minutes to try to see some birds today before heading off to other family activities so we went over to Kaysville Pond. My hope was to get some better photos of Ring-necked ducks and perhaps Hooded Mergansers. While we had fun and saw a lot of ducks there wasn't anything out of the ordinary, other than it seems like every time I go there, there seems to be more Great-tailed Grackles that have moved in. After spending about 15 or 20 minutes looking over the ducks and gulls we headed east away from the ponds. About 2 blocks east of the ponds I spotted a small hawk on top of a power pole eating. As we approached it I realized it was a Merlin, so I pulled the car over and got out and shot some nice pictures. Tickled about our find we headed to his house in Fruit Heights to drop him off. After dropping him off I headed south on Highway 89 and had to stop for the red light at Nicholls Road. I looked down the street and saw a lot of birds flying around the area so I pulled down Nicholls Road and parked in front of the park. there in some Mountain White Ash full of berries were about a dozen Cedar Waxwings. I was able to get some nice pictures of these birds as well. Birding is indeed serendipitous. See more pictures on our web albums by clicking on the link on this page.

January Bird of the Month "Merlin"

I had been trying to decide what bird I would select for this month's Bird of the Month, it wasn't until this afternoon that I decided. While driving home from my parents home today in Kaysville, Frank and I stopped by Kaysville Pond for a few minutes and saw the usual great birds but nothing new. As we drove east away from the pond I saw a bird on top of a power pole, at first I thought Kestrel but as we go closer I realized it was not. There seems to be an increase of Merlins sighted in the Salt Lake Valley this winter and sure enough our bird was a Merlin feeding on a rodent. I was able to get some nice pictures and decided to make the Merlin my "Bird of the Month".
The Merlin is a small falcon of northern forests and prairies, the Merlin is the least well-marked of the American falcons. It is becoming a regular breeder in urban areas and seems more common here in Northern Utah during winter is recent years.
Small Falcon. Long, pointed wings. Long, banded tail. Faint mustache mark. Brown streaking on chest and belly. Back unmarked gray or brown.
Size: 24-30 cm (9-12 in)
Wingspan: 53-68 cm (21-27 in)
Weight: 160-240 g (5.65-8.47 ounces)
Sex Differences
Sexes similar, but male smaller and gray on back, female brown.
Call a high "kee, kee, kee.
Conservation Status
Expanding breeding range and may be increasing in numbers.
Other Names
Faucon émerillon (French)Esmerejón (Spanish)Pigeon Hawk (English)
Cool Facts:
The Merlin does not build a nest, but instead takes over old nests of other raptors or crows. It sometimes nests on top of domed magpie nests rather than in the nest cavity.