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We are still catching up at home, after another fantastic Salt Lake Birding
Festival. The weather offered warm days and cool nights, clear and almost
insect-free, even of ticks. As always, the hospitality and geniality was
unparalleled. Although we've had an atypical spring with delayed migration,
there were indeed many species there.

Rob and I saw over 70 species, including 11 FOY for me, some of them
life-birds. Some favorites  seen were Wilson's Phalarope, Marbled Godwit,
American Golden Plover, Ferruginous Hawk, Eared Grebe, Franklin's Gull, and
Smith's Longspur.

The Smith's were especially fun, a beautiful life-species Rob and I
happened across when looking instead for some Chestnut-collared Longspurs
that Jason, a local guide, had seen earlier that morning. Habitat, sound,
and behavior pointed to Longspurs but we quickly realized "these are not
the (birds) you are looking for", and checked the Sibley for ID. Their
close proximity to the road and their general fearlessness gave us some
great looks.
Luckily, fellow birders were still down the road close by; Rob stayed on
site to deal with the challenge of keeping the birds in view, while I drove
back to Steve Weston and others in the party. Steve alerted our host, Ken
Larson, too. With team effort everyone got good looks at both genders of
the Smith's Longspurs.

Our thanks goes out to Ken and Mary Lou, Steve, Jason, the local people who
made the meals possible, and all those who shared their sightings. This
festival is one to put on your calendar for next year.

Linda Whyte

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