Just got back from a week out in Utah leading morning and evening birding trips for the Outdoor Retailers Summer
Show in Salt Lake City. Lots of fun showing American White Pelicans, White-faced Ibis, Burrowing Owls, Golden Eagles, Snowy Plovers, and dozens of other birds to a wide range of experienced and brand-spanking-new-birders. It was especially fun to take out some folks who had never even thought about birdwatching before, and to see them get excited by some great birds.
One morning we saw a Peregrine Falcon chase a flock of ducks and fly low almost directly overhead. On a quieter trip we got great scope views of a Sage Thrasher. Another morning provided looks at 35 Snowy Plovers (including some fuzzy chicks). The rarest bird of the trips was a juvenile Summer Tanager, about 250 miles out of range, that popped up on a gate to the Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve--a restoration project of Kennecott Copper on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake. There literally wasn't a tree in sight for this woodland species to land on, so it was in very atypical habitat.
It was exciting to see different birds each day. To visit the same place over and over for five days and learn some of the rhythms and schedules of a few individual birds, and to be constantly surprised by the appearance of new birds along my birding route. Birding truly is a joy, and as far as I could tell, there was much joy had by all!
Owls at 70 MPH
8 hours ago