I enjoyed our trip to Salt Lake City and the opportunity to bird in different habitats. However, given the time of year and the glorious weather, I was rather surprised not to see more birds in the mountains.
I missed some new species that I was hoping to see, including Warbling Vireo, Red Crossbill and MacGillivray’s Warbler. I also missed some old friends that I really expected to find, notably Burrowing Owl, Chukar, Townsend’s Solitaire and Clark’s Nutcracker. Even more surprisingly, I saw only a handful of shorebirds and ducks, virtually no hawks or woodpeckers, and absolutely no towhees.
Still, there were plenty of interesting birds among the 61 species that I did spot. In terms of new-year and life birds, I saw about half the species that were possible in the areas I birded. There were 30 new-for-the-year species, which was about what I had hoped for. Six species were life birds: Dusky Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Plumbeous Vireo, Sage Thrasher, Black-headed Grosbeak and Yellow-headed Blackbird. The latter was certainly the highlight of the trip and a sighting that I will long treasure.