Monday, December 18, 2017

18 December 2017 - Birding: The Vagrants

One of the hardest things about birding is finding the vagrants--the birds that shouldn't be here but show up and cause birders all over the state to drive long distances to see something rare. This year we had quite a few and I was able to see most of them. What I enjoyed about this was they were spread out over the year, almost hitting one a month. 

The first unusual bird was seen on January 1 during the Christmas Bird Count--a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. The last time Eastern Bluebirds were seen in Utah was 21 years ago in the far southwestern corner of Utah. This pair was just outside of Salt Lake City. Here's the male.


February brought us a Great Gray Owl. They normally do not show up south of Idaho, but Idaho had a huge snow year and birds were going south for food. 

In April a Eurasian Wigeon showed up in Provo. I don't have a photo of this pretty little duck. My suggestion? Look it up. It showed up in a flock of about 1000 American Wigeon. Oh boy. 

The big surprise in May was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher!  I have seen these in Oklahoma, but here? Wow! 

Two fabulous birds made themselves visible in June. First, an Indigo Bunting followed by a White Ibis. Crazy fun!

July's bird was a small flock of  Lark Buntings. Very striking coloration. These aren't horribly rare for Utah, just really hard to find. 

In August, an Arctic Tern stayed for almost a week. 

September found many of us in Farmington Bay to find a Ruff.

November made me think I was back in Michigan when a Bluejay showed up. What fun to see this old friend again. 

In December, a lovely Varied Thrush showed up and  hung around for two weeks then was gone. 

Makes me wonder what amazing vagrants will be showing up next year. And yes, I will most likely be chasing them. 

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