Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Salt Lake City 7/26--Western Kingbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Brewer's Blackbird

Wasatch Mountains from the roof of the Natural History Museum of Utah
We arrived in Salt Lake City a day early, so we had most of Sunday free. Before we left our hotel near the airport we had 3 year birds: 3 Western Kingbirds on a roof across the street and Great-tailed Grackles and Brewer's Blackbirds scavenging in the parking lot. Oddly, while we saw plenty of the other two species throughout the week, the grackles were the only ones we came across.

Among the other parking lot birds, I had a Eurasian Collared-Dove. This could be a year bird if that bird we saw in Ohio in May was an African Collared-Dove, but I'll leave the list as it is for now. In Utah and Nevada, you see as many EUCD as you do MODO.

We decided to go to the Natural History Museum of Utah which was all the way across town. It is a beautiful building in a spectacular setting, built into the side of what I'd call a mountain and they probably consider a hill. Unfortunately, we don't have the kind of camera lenses appropriate for architectural photography.

As you would expect, the museum has a fantastic display of dinosaur skeletons. I've never been that fascinated with dinosaurs, even as a kid, but these bones didn't seem like the dusty tableau I remembered from American Museum of Natural History. Most of the bones come from the nearby (in their terms) Kapairowits Formation and they make a point of the fact that these bones are the real deal and not casts as you see in most museums.
Two Mammals
Flying around the museum was a small flock of one of my favorite birds, Black-billed Magpie. In the west, these are street birds and are also considered agricultural pests, but I think they're gorgeous and wouldn't mind having them around here.

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