This weekend's Salt Lake festival had great birds and beautiful weather.  I
will not give a summery report, as I expect Ken Larson is putting that
together.  Some of the highlights:

Smith's Longspurs:  found on Sunday by Rob and Linda Whyte.  Thank you
Linda for jumping into your car and coming to get us when you could not
reach me on my phone.
When we pulled up, Rob was staring into an empty field of dirt with corn
stubble.  After repeatedly being told that the birds in the empty field
were closer than we were looking, we finally saw one move and were able to
get a scope on it.  The birds were less than fifty feet away and we got
great looks.  Rob told us that most of the birds were on the other side of
the driveway, which had less visibility because cultivation rows ran across
our view, rather than parallel to our sight lines.  those of us with full
hearing capability could hear them calling from the other field, but the
ones on our observed field were silent.   I estimated that we might have
four birds in our field, but when they popped up and flew across the
driveway, we counted 13 birds.  We had a lot of trouble finding the birds
in that field, but when we did, they were even closer.  They were almost
completely unconcerned with our proximity, convinced of their trait of
invisibility.  A couple of the group with camera were able to get killer
photos.  Steve Broste commented, "I have been photographing common birds
around my yard and getting unimpressive photos.  Not only did I get a
lifer, but I took centerfold photos of it!"  He promised to post a picture
to "Recently Seen" on the MOU page.  Location: Mehurin Twshp in Lac qui
Parle Co.  Directions: Take Hwy 212 to CR7 (2 miles this side of the SD
border.  Turn south, away from Marietta.  Four miles down the road, turn
east (left).  The birds were in the fields adjacent to the long driveway
going north about 1.5 miles away.  Your chances of finding the birds here
are just about the same as finding them in any sparsely covered field along
the border with South Dakota.

In the same fields I witnessed an awesome territorial battle between Horned
Larks.  The one that was facing us, stood straight up on its legs and
thrust its tail forward between its legs presenting a striking black

More later.
Steve Weston
On Quigley Lake in Eagan, MN
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