Monday, April 28, 2008

Audubon grouse trip and a concert

Saturday morning E and I got up at 4:30 a.m. so we could meet the Audubon group in Hyrum at 5 a.m. Where on earth could we be going at such an insanely early hour you ask? A Sharp-tailed Grouse lek of course! LOL Luckily E's alarm went off, because mine didn't! AHHHH!!! It takes about 12 minutes to get to Hyrum, and we were at 1/4 of a tank of gas. So we threw our clothes on, threw the birding equipment in the car, and hit the road! We got to the meeting place (the McDonald's in Hyrum) at 4:58. Whew! After letting the people in charge know that we were there, we ran over to the gas station. What kind of farming town gas station is NOT OPEN at 5 a.m.? Don't farmers get up that early? LOL McDonald's opened at 5:19, so we at least got a little something to eat, but still, no gas. Then we drove out to Avon, which is about 15 minutes south of Hyrum. Kept driving, till we got to the middle of nowhere LOL Dh's friend told him the hike would be about 1/2 mile. No problem. Well, it was just over a mile, straight up a hill! I am SO out of shape LOL But it was worth it when we looked through the spotting scope at a bunch of funny little feather balls dancing around and chasing each other. And then the sun came up, and the hillsides were so pretty! The Western Meadowlarks were singing, and the sky was a beautiful pale pink, and the frost was glistening on the grass; what a perfect morning! Unfortunately, the rising sun defrosted the mud, so we had nice mudcakes on our shoes by the time we got back down to the car LOL I ended up driving back to town in my socks. Thankfully, dh's car gets much better gas mileage than my van, so the 1/4 tank ended up being plenty of gas. On the way down the canyon and back through Avon and Paradise, we saw Green-tailed Towhee, Dark-eyed Junco, Chipping Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Chukar, and Swainson's Hawk (along with the usual pigeons, magpies, robins and starlings). This morning put me up to 106 species! After the 20-25 minute drive home, I had totally stiffened up, and had a hard time getting out of the car LOL But it was so worth it! And guess what I did with the rest of the day...

My sister-in-law, V, picked me up about 2 and we drove to Salt Lake. We stopped briefly at Pottery Barn in Trolley Square. I've never been in there before, and I should probably never go back LOL I could spend WAY too much money in there! We had gone to Trolley Square to visit the Sharper Image store, looking for a massage chair for V. She's a massage therapist, and by the time she finishes work every day, she needs a massage too! Unfortunately, the Sharper Image store was gone! So we got back in the car and headed for Ikea. Never been in there before either. V's dh is from Uzbekistan, and Ikea has a swedish food store. He wanted some European food from the market. She got him some pate stuff and herring, along with chocolate and cookies. There was no dark chocolate to be found! I LOVE chocolate, but I decided not to get any, since none of it was dark. We only had about 20 minutes to see the rest of the store, so we only saw a little bit of the bottom floor. Guess I'll just have to go back some time!
After Ikea, we met V's cousin and significant other (and their REALLY cute baby boy) for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Oh yummy steak! Then off to the concert!
The concert was at Kingsbury Hall up on the University of Utah campus (read "no parking" LOL). We were a few minutes late, so we had to wait to be seated. Okay, and the concert was: Celtic Woman! The opening act was the High Kings. They were pretty fun, and we enjoyed them, but Celtic Woman was absolute magic! We were actually seated in the orchestra pit, in the fourth row, on nice comfy chairs with a LOT of leg room, and we were so close to the stage! The four soloists had incredibly beautiful voices and the violin player was so talented and fun to watch. I can't figure out how she can play while she's leaping all over the stage LOL I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this concert was. If you EVER get a chance to go to one of their concerts, or even just to watch them on PBS (which is where I originally stumbled across them), DO IT! It is so worth it!

We got home about 12:30, and then dh decided to tell me about everything he did that day, and then Az (my daughter) came down with a fever and spent most of the night awake. Needless to say, I didn't make it to church the next day! LOL

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cub Magic and birds

Wednesday night was our pack meeting. Our cubmaster was out of town, so the rest of us were left to put it together. Because I have been there the longest, I was in kind of in charge of putting everything together (one leader had only been in for 3 days, one for about 4 months and the other for about 9 months). Luckily I had lots of help! How does the cubmaster do this every month? LOL Our theme was Cub Scout Magic, and we had asked each cub to come with a magic trick. I figured most of them would forget, but I was wrong! There was only a couple of scouts that didn't have a magic trick. Amazingly, we didn't have any duplicate tricks. E did a trick where it looks like he pulls a scarf through his neck. He did a great job and so did all the other scouts. It turned out to be a really successful pack meeting, and I think everyone had a lot of fun.

This morning E and I did a little birding. Nothing new at Sue's Ponds (my current favorite location), but there was a large group of Wilson's Phalaropes, Earred Grebes, and Bonaparte's Gulls. The phalaropes are so fun to watch. They are such busy little things. There were some Franklin's Gulls there too. I love seeing them at this time of year, because they are PINK. Seriously! They are small gulls, with a black head, white eye ring, and grey backs. Most of the year they have white undersides, but in their breeding plumage in the early spring, they become this delicate rosy shade. So much fun to see pink birds LOL Reminds me of Pink Floyd, the flamingo that used to live at the Great Salt Lake. My dad and I were out birding around the lake one year when we saw him. I said, "Dad, there is a flamingo out there!" LOL Totally threw me for a loop. This was when I first started birding, and I had no idea that there was an escaped flamingo that had been spending the summers on the lake for a few years. He was around for a long time, but I don't know if anyone has seen him for the last couple of years. May he fly in peace :) After Sue's Ponds we headed over to 2020 Pond. I haven't checked there for a while, because for some reason, there hasn't been anything there. It used to be one of my favorite spots, but lately it's been deserted. About one minute after we got there though, a Wood Duck went swimming by! Yippee! Been looking for him for a while now. It was a beautiful male, lots of showy color. He's like the peacock of the duck world LOL Other than that there was one lonely Canada Goose and a couple of coots. But the Wood Duck made it worth the drive.

Now, if it could just STAY spring LOL No more snow!

Monday, April 21, 2008


I did it! 100 birds! I am so excited right now LOL I got an email (I'm on an email birding hotline) about several new birds, so I packed up the kids this morning, and away we went. We saw 28 species this morning, 6 of which were new for this year (Snowy Egret, Bonaparte's Gull, Wilson's Phalarope, Greater Yellowlegs, Forster's Tern and Northern Rough-winged Swallow). The best part was, they were all really close to the road, so I got a GREAT look at all of them. It's so nice when they're close, and they stick around long enough that you can sit and watch them for a while. The bad part was that the battery in dh's nice camera died, so I didn't get as many good pics as I could have. Such a bummer. I did get some pics with my camera, but that's not much better than nothing LOL I also saw a Sandhill Crane with a broken wing, which was very sad.

On Saturday I went on my second field trip with the Bridgerland Audubon Society. We went out to the Amalga Barrens. It was pretty windy, and a storm was blowing in, but we still got to see some nice birds, including a Cackling Goose, which is a life bird (new bird species that I haven't seen before) for me. I've been looking for one ever since it became its own species a couple of years ago. Before that it was lumped in with all the other subspecies of Canada Goose. It definitely pays to go birding with people who own BIG, POWERFUL scopes LOL

So now I need to come up with some way to celebrate 100 birds. Another birding trip maybe? :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bluebird of Happiness

Last Tuesday (yeah, this is really outdated LOL) was a great day. First, after dropping Az off at preschool, E and C and I went birding around the valley for 3 hours. We saw 36 different species, 11 of which were new for the year! The new birds were: Common Loon, Western Grebe and Clark's Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Green-winged Teal, Greater Scaup (this one was exciting, because they aren't found in the valley very often), Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Golden Eagle, Mountain Bluebird, and Brewer's Blackbird. Luckily, I remembered to take dh's nice camera, so I even got some good pics! I took the pic of the Mountain Bluebird above. They were quite aways out in the field, so even with the telephoto lens, it was still hard to get a good close picture of them. The females are more of a soft brown, with tinges of blue, but the males are incredible! They are so blue that they're almost fluorescent. I love bluebirds, but Mountain Bluebirds are definitely the prettiest of the bunch! Bluebirds make you feel like all is right with the world when you see them. They just make me happy :)
The second great thing was after dropping E off at gymnastics, I was supposed to go spend a blissful 90 minutes at the library all by myself. On the way however, I got distracted by the antique shop. Just had to stop and see if there was anything I could afford LOL I've been seeing blue canning jars on other blogs, and I really, really wanted one, but had no idea if I'd be able to find one. Well, there were blue canning jars all over the place in that shop! This one, above, was actually in the best condition, and the lowest priced! So it came home with me. By the time I'd finished wandering around the shop, there wasn't time to go to the library, so I decided to stop by another nearby antique shop that I hadn't been in before. It was a nice shop, lots of great atmosphere, but 99% of the things were beyond my eensy weensy budget LOL I love the blue jar though, and I'm so very glad I found one I could afford.
The final treat of the day was a mom's night out at the Bluebird Restaurant (the above pic came off the web). This is such a great vintage restaurant. It was originally a soda fountain and candy store in downtown Logan (we have a wonderful Main Street, with lots of old restored buildings) that expanded into lunch and then dinner. The food's not bad, and you get quite a bit for your money, but it's really the atmosphere that makes it a fun place to eat. Oh, and the hand-dipped chocolates :) Had to bring home some dark chocolate melti mints, caramels, lemon creme and orange cremes. Mmmmmm...
And, finally, I snuck off to the library after dinner, and spent the last 30 minutes that they were open wishing I could check out more than 25 books LOL
It was truly a "bluebird of happiness" day!