Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Birding with Merrill Webb Nature Experienceship - March 26, 2022

As the sun was rising on a beautiful spring Saturday morning, a group of excited birders gathered in the BYU Life Sciences Museum parking lot. The group eagerly anticipated the five destinations between Provo and Mona picked by birding expert and our guide, Merrill Webb. Mr. Webb gave the group a breakdown of the day and expressed his high expectations to see many unique bird species. 

First stop: Salem Pond

When we arrived at the Salem Pond, everyone quietly exited the vans and pulled out their binoculars. It was a picturesque scene as the waterfowl swam and the birders fixed their binoculars on the beautiful birds. The birders identified several different waterfowl species. Mr. Webb brought everyone’s attention to a Belted Kingfisher, Virginia Rail, and Steller’s Jay. Everyone observed them in awe. As we drove away from our first spot, a few of the birders saw some species – a Kestrel and others – that intrigued the group enough to pull over and once again commence birdwatching. 

Second stop: Payson City Cemetery

Mr. Webb took the group to the Payson City Cemetery in search of one bird – the Great Horned Owl. Immediately upon arrival, Mr. Webb spotted a couple that was there for the same reason. They were kind enough to show us where they had spotted the owl. Our group of birders followed and admired the beautiful owl perched in a tree overlooking a field of gravestones. 

Third stop: Cedar Hollow Reservoir

The next stop took us on dirt roads and right by a beautiful orchard. Cedar Hollow Reservoir was a prime location for observing waterfowl. The group spotted Green-winged Teal, Red-winged Blackbird and others.

Fourth stop: Goshen Playa

The fourth stop took us to a reservoir a mile or so east of Goshen. With Mt. Nebo in the backdrop, the group observed more species of waterfowl. 

Fifth stop: Mona Reservoir

Mr. Webb took the group to Mona Reservoir to observe more waterfowl. The drive through Goshen Canyon had the passengers amazed by the beautiful views. Upon arrival at the reservoir, one of the birders heard a Meadowlark and had all of the birders searching for the beautiful birds. After observing it for a while, everyone’s attention returned to the beautiful waterfowl. 

Sixth stop: Rowley's Red Barn in Santaquin for some ice cream. :)

Alex, museum educator

Species spotted:

Canada Goose


American Wigeon


Cinnamon Teal

Northern Shoveler

Green-winged Teal



Lesser Scaup


Common Goldeneye

Ruddy Duck

Pied-billed Grebe

Eared Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel

Virginia Rail

American Coot

Sandhill Crane


Ring-billed Gull

California Gull

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Great horned Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Say’s Phoebe

Steller’s Jay

Black-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven

American Robin

European Starling

Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Western Meadowlark

House Finch

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