Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Birding Spot, New Bird

Utah is filled with magnificent hidey-hole birding spots that the locals know, but those of us who are still relative newcomers are unaware of. I do keep a casual eye on local hotline sightings, however, and when, late last week, news of a vagrant prothonotary warbler was being spread, I couldn't resist the temptation. A few online inquiries, a round with Google Maps, and a full tank of gas later, I was on my way to River Lane in Springville, for an obscure, out of the way edge of Provo Bay known as Sandy Beach.

When I arrived, the name was apt - the area at the tip of this small promontory is quite sandy, and a favorite for local dirt bikes and ATVs, though fortunately I had the area to myself as I began birding, watching for a quick flash of yellow. I didn't have long to wait, actually, and quickly spotted what had to be a male prothonotary warbler deep in the brush - too deep, to my dismay, for a view I'd be happy to confirm for my life list. For the next three-quarters of an hour, I wandered around the area's many short winding trails, hoping to relocate the warbler and tallying up a pleasant list of other sightings.

Finally, I was on a small rise overlooking a scrubby patch to the east and more open trees to the south, when out popped the warbler in the open trees, no more than thirty feet away. He didn't stay long, but long enough for a full, satisfying view - and another lifer for my list. I indulged in a moment of happy dance, and a few more minutes of birding about, before heading in, glad to have gotten my wings wet at birding once again.

Not only did the scrubby brush and trees of the area provide a good number of birds, but the open mudflats at the mouth of the Springville River were teeming with foraging birds. The day's bird list - casually kept with only those I could identify - included:
There were also a number of gulls, an indeterminate falcon, at least one more type of warbler, and either a Clark's grebe or western grebe present. Quite the day, and a lifer to boot - I'll certainly be back again!


Katherine Edison said...

This is a terrific blog. I really enjoyed looking through your posts. Great photos!

Melissa said...

Thanks so much; I'm glad you enjoy it!