Hummers Are Back
We finally saw the first migrating hummingbirds in our yards yesterday. A Ruby-throated Male turned up at our feeders in the afternoon. That is about par for the course since the males usually arrive here a couple of weeks before the females start showing up.
I've checked both retention ponds for the pairs of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks that normally raise families on the campus in the summer. Unfortunately, the only BBWDs to be seen were two adolescents. A couple of months ago there was a lot of construction work around the ponds and I suppose the disturbance made the ducks look for a different place for nesting this year. That's a great pity. I was looking forward to watching the adults raising new ducklings again this year.
Looking over my records for the trip, I find that I saw 66 species in Utah. 36 of these were new birds for 2010 and three of them were life-birds for me: Brewer's Sparrow, Gray Jay and Red Crossbill.
At 243 species so far, my year list is almost 30 down on this time in 2009. However, by August last year I had done trips to San Francisco, Phoenix and New York, as well as to Utah.
In a couple of weeks I'll be spending a day or two in Cuernavaca, Mexico. There won't be much time for birding but I'm sure I'll manage to fit in a little. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the thousands of swifts that roost in the city's main square.
At the end of the month, we're going to have a few days in a beach house at Surfside. Barring the arrival of a hurricane, this should give me a chance to see migrating shorebirds. (Two years ago we rented the same house but had to evacuate after just one day because of the approach of Hurricane Ike.) No doubt I'll also squeeze in side-trips to Brazoria and San Bernard refuges.
Then, in late September, I'm doing a little work in Denver, Colorado. I should be able to fit in a day in the Rocky Mountain National Park. With luck I might see some of the mountain birds that I missed in Utah, such as Three-toed Woodpecker and Steller's Jay.