Saturday, August 07, 2010

Utah Trip (3)

After spending Sunday morning saying goodbye to the rest of the family, we headed back down to Salt Lake City. On the way, we stopped to explore the Rock Cliff section of Jordanelle State Park. As well as providing beautiful views, this is normally a prime birding site and has boardwalks over extensive wetlands near the Jordanelle River.

Unfortunately, noon on August 1st. is not a good time to visit bird in Utah, and this year a drought has dried up the wetlands. So we saw very few birds. There were several American Robins, a pair of Yellow Warblers and a Lesser Goldfinch.

Lesser Goldfinch

The highlight was spotting no fewer than three Common Nighthawks dozing on branches in the midday heat.

Big Cottonwood & Brighton

We had a late lunch at the Silver Fork Lodge in Big Cottonwood Canyon, where the feeders around the outside eating area always attract plenty of female and male Black-chinned Hummingbirds.

After lunch, we drove up the canyon to spend an hour at Silver Lake. The latter much smaller than usual and the only birds on it were three Mallards.

On our walk around the lake we spotted a only few birds, including Red-breasted Nuthatches, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and Tree and Cliff Swallows.

Male Black-headed Grosbeak

We would no doubt have seen more birds if the path hadn't been so busy with noisy Sunday visitors. However, the number of visitors didn't deter this White-crowned Sparrow.

The highlight of the walk was the sight of an Osprey doing a leisurely circle over the water. What amazingly graceful birds they are!

Before leaving Brighton, I chec
ked out the small street behind the main store/cafe, because I saw quite a few birds there in May 2009. The diversion was worthwhile. The front of one house had several seed, suet and hummingbird feeders, and these were attracting lots of birds.

The main visitors were Pine Siskins.

But several White-crowned Sparrows were there to explore the ground under the feeders and Cassin's Finches turned up, too.

Cassin's Finch

Three or four Hairy Woodpeckers flew back and forward between the feeders and nearby trees and utility poles.

The final visitors were a pair of Black-headed Grosbeaks that came in to share the suet.

Still to Come

To this point our trip hadn't turned up anything like as many birds as I had hoped for. However, I was planning to start our last day in Utah with a couple of early-morning hours at Antelope Island. I was pretty sure that I would see many more birds on the island and on the causeway that leads to it.

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