Utah has the motto, "Life Elevated." They have always thought that they are above Nevada. The first thing I came to when leaving Nevada was this foot wash. I never pass up a foot wash. It was like I was supposed to wash off all the bad the Nevada is and accept the "good" that is Utah....hum?
Was this something to do with Wendover? The split city with Utah State -Wendover and churches on one side and casinos, strip clubs, and all sorts of sin in West Wendover? A place that found out you can't have showgirls and strippers in a casino because you have to be 21 to be in a casino and most of the strippers (from Utah State-Wendover, probably) were under 21...hum. We only bought beer there because well we could.
Ah perfect Utah in all of its splendor.....wait a minute. The Wasatch National Forest (Little Cottonwood Canyon) bans dogs, and horses, and....at Alta ski resort.....snowboarders....? A month ago I read about the US Federal Appeals court upholding Alta's ban of snowboarders. It is a landmark decision about lessors being able to ban things on public land. Alta hates snowboarders....those evil lots...and of course dogs and horses.....
This is expected to be sent to the US Supreme court, and I guess we'll see. But dogs....well sort of. They issue 42 permits for those living over 6 months in the valley, so they are hypocrites. These are some of the most desired pooch permits in the country. They say that dogs could ruin the quality of the water which is used for the people below. Then why not ALL dogs? Is there a study that dog pooh from just 42 is safe but 43 is too many? Dog pooh is worse than raccoon pooh, deer scat, goat dropping, rabbit do....? really? How about human pooh? Where do all of those campers and hikers go? I think they are just mean spirited and bad people! Who cannot love dogs? Life elevated...snobs...maybe....the noses elevated nothing more.
okay...okay...rant later, bird first....I need to ask you my well versed and very educated readers better bird related questions....like
Are snowcock chicks...half-cocked? I've always said snow is my favorite kind of cock, I guess, but maybe that is not questions I want to ask either...I would have had a field day with this trip and the puns in my 2013 year, and I could have easily gotten this bird au naturel...but I digress.
where did I start this trip?
Okay...I started in Milbank South Dakota coming back from chasing a rare Baird's sparrow sighting in Minnesota. Some of you have doubts....let me restart birding there...last week and let us discuss this bird.....
Many of you say that is not a Baird's, it is a funny looking savanah...
These two photos were sent to the ebird reviewer and on my checklist...mine
Dr. Bruce Fall Univ of MN faculty, ebird reviewer, MN OU hierarchy etc responded back to me, after confirming my checklist
I would say the most likely bird this could be if not a Baird's IS a Lincoln, but face wrong and NO central dot, etc.... so I think we all need to go back to Sparrow school. Baird's can very in looking differently but sound the same.....
I very likely will photograph another, I will end up birding in central North Dakota next week....a birder I know told me to go out and get "proof" of I think a snowcock...not sure. You know some of you will never believe me, and I can't photograph all the birds and I don't do sound recordings. So I do my best. I don't really think that is why I'm in this hobby. What do you do with the recordings, at least I make huge blow ups of my best photos. Thank you researchers that have, though...I'm not a researcher, I won't ever do any of it. But here is a bird, that likely with my pictures, MN OU will confirm it, much like my first flame colored tanager, AND even so many will doubt. You know....shrug...I won't say it. I'm keeping it on my list.
No sleep on the 22nd, after a nice night at home with the family, I took off at midnight for Minneapolis, flying out at five for Dallas then Tucson. By 11am I was parked below Beatty's Guest Ranch and was paying my 5 bucks to get in. The place was empty but not empty of birds I needed. It took an hour but I finally got pictures of my quarry.
#740 White-eared hummingbird
A lifer bird besides, probably my favorite Arizona hummer. I have to give you another look...
I was escorted out of the end of the road by the police. I'm not sure what was up but they didn't pass me despite me stopping to look at birds...maybe the Beatty's had called them...IDK, I was well behaved...really!
It was still early so I drove hard back to Tucson, and booked a flight to Salt Lake city that left by four pm, I drank my lifer beer with John Puschock, birding guide and all around nice guy. He had a client and was flying home. It is good to run into people you know, I bought him a beer, sure I owned it to him for intel over the years.
Watsatch National Forest, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, June 23 (PM), 24 (AM) 25 (PM)
Okay, these people hate dogs, and are all around bad people, I guess. The valley is gorgeous. I drove up the valley after my plane landed. It was busy with hikers, bikers, fishermen, and everyone not on a snowboard or with a dog....skijoring I guess is banned too?
I looked around and stuck out on my calliope hummingbird search....This is the oddest place. Everything looks abandoned, sanctioned for private ordeals, or beyond my means. somewhere near a place called Hell's gate, I ran out of gas, me, I was dead. No more going anywhere. I thought about crashing in the car as there appeared to be no place to stay but the whole thing of a multi-million dollar resort complex just baffled me. I ended up a the Cliff Lodge. The woman looked bemused by my plea for somewhere to stay. "We have rooms..." She said.
"Nowhere in the entire valley does it say we have rooms available. Nowhere are there any place to eat, and nowhere can I take my dog anywhere."
"you have a dog with?" she said.
"Well no, just saying." I gulped.
"All of the hotels are open and have space." She looked at me like I was stupid. Then quoted me 165 a night. I was still angry over the only rooms in Boston being over a thousand a night and was still mad about the dog policy and then started in about the lack of restaurants and beer.
"Sir we have a restaurant and we serve beer here." I laughed. Utah with alcohol, yea...I got a room, they offered me free valet parking, which I don't know what that means. I have never ever used valet parking. First the parkers you read destroy your cars, so why would you give it to them. Secondly, "free?" you have to give them a tip, how much? Tipping is unAmerican and not a Swedish thing.. What if it isn't enough, do they destroy your car? These valet people at that moment seemed more evil than the dog haters of Alta/Snowbird. I sneered at one opening the door for me. I made him close it and then opened it myself. I parked a half mile away and happily walked back from a ski parking area. The guy offered to get a bellman for me and my luggage. "Do I look helpless to you?" I sneered. I found myself in room 858, and asleep before my head hit the pillow.
I woke up a little embarrassed. I don't usually stay at higher end hotels, they don't let the likes of me in. I don't think we can afford it. This hotel is probably the highest priced one I've stayed at in years. It is true that my wife and I have never used a valet park, or a bellman. I don't understand thousand dollar a night hotels, what do you have to be worth to stay at places like this? 20 million, 50 million....? Is there that many people who can come up here and afford to stay and ski? I don't get it so I went birding.
There were some odd things to see like this hummer feeder made of three ski polls on top of a mound.
this broad -tailed hummer 'owns' this feeder at the village offices, but what is the deal with that weasel in the window? They had a hummer ID guide behind the feeder too, like who could read that?
Coded Birds: 76
provisionals: 1 + 2
number to go to old record: 8
speeding tickets: 1
showshoes 4 (isn't going to be any more)
Lifers seen this year: 59
nights slept in car: 12