City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

December 10, 2016

December 10th

Filed under: Birds, Nests — canopus56 @ 9:23 pm

A Census of Bird and Insect Nests

Seeing nests is not easy. Even though I made quick digital pictures of the nests and their locations, on successive days finding the same nest can be difficult. Sighting a nest depends heavily on lighting. Some nests are best seen when back lit; others are easier to find when they are illuminated face on from the front. They are also transient objects. The weather has worn the Bald-faced wasp at picnic site 9 down to one-third of its original size, and the largest hornet nest in the canyon was blown out of its tree around December 6th.

The list below consists of forty nests that were verified with global positioning system (GPS) coordinates. All have been observed on at least three separate days. GPS positions vary by ±0.010′ to ±0.040′ (minutes) between readings and depend on the number of satellites used to fix a position. With a modern cell phone, GPS coordinates can be accessed even when outside the cell phone tower network by installing many of the free GPS-mapping phone applications. I use the application “GSP Essentials” and its “Satellites” feature that shows current GPS coordinates. Readings taken below picnic site 3 have a wider variance and are less accurate because of the high-voltage power line that is strung overhead across the canyon distorts the GPS radio signal.

Snag nests are nest created when a woodpecker drills holes into dead tree trunks (a “snag”) and a hollow is excavated inside the trunk. Generally, snag nests occurs in dead trunks that are 10 to 14 inches in diameter. Nests that are easy to see are marked. The platform-type nests may be tree nests of squirrels. Squirrels sometimes take over and expand bird nests in trees and at other times they build their own. Possible squirrel nests are marked.

Removing almost any migratory bird nest is a felony punishable by up to two years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine under the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918, 16 U.S.C Secs. 703-712. For this reason, internet auction sites like eBay prohibit selling all bird nests. Since you cannot tell the difference between a controlled and uncontrolled nest, it is in your best interest to leave all nests alone.

List of Bird and Insect Nests Found in the First Two Miles of City Creek Canyon on December 1st-7th, 2016:
• 1 platform nest in 40 feet high, south side of the road at “Rough Pavement” sign. 40°47.547′ N, 111°52.618′ W. Possible squirrel nest.

• 1 hemisphere stick nest about 125 feet down canyon of picnic site 1, approximately mile 0.1, south side of the road. 40°47.589′ N, 111°52.599′ W. Possible squirrel nest.

• 1 Bald-faced hornet nest about 20 feet down canyon of picnic site 1 sign, south side of the road. 40°47.601′ N, 111°52.605′ W.

• 1 hummingbird type nest in the low dogwood bushes at the up canyon end of picnic site 1, south side of the road. The nest is in the bushes to the south of the “Share the Road” sign. This is best nest of this type. 40°47.606′ N, 111°52.586′ W. Easy to see. Please do not harvest this accessible nest.

• 1 hummingbird type nest in tree 30 feet up canyon of picnic site 1, south side of the road. Also 40°47.619′ N, 111°52.588′ W. Difficult to see. It is located among the dense branches of a river birch on the far side of the stream.

• 1 hummingbird type nest in tree 200 feet up canyon of picnic site 1, south side of the road. See August 27th. 40°47.636′ N, 111°52.577′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 hanging basket nest at picnic site 3, high in 80 feet tree, south side of the road. 40°47.811′ N, 111°52.464′ W.

• 1 basket circular nest 80 feet down canyon from picnic site 3, north side of the road. 40°47.784′ N, 111°52.742′ W.

• 1 possible circular twig nest at picnic site 3, north west side of the road. 40°47.848′ N, 111°52.440′ W.

• 1 possible circular twig nest at picnic site 3, south side of the road. 40°47.848′ N, 111°52.443′ W.

• 1 Bald-faced wasp nest at picnic site 4, north west side of the road. See December 1st. 40°47.866′ N, 111°52.421′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 grass-woven nest 100 feet down canyon of picnic site 5, south side of the road. Also at 40°47.953′ N, 111°52.407′ W. Gone December 7th. Probably fallen from tree.

• 1 Bald-faced wasp nest 200 feet up canyon of picnic site 5, south side of the road. 40°47.979′ N, 111°52.370′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 Bald-faced wasp nest 200 feet down canyon of picnic site 6 on the north side of the road, high in the upper branches of a 100 foot tall cottonwood tree. This nest is twice the size of a basketball. Unable to locate on December 6th after snow storms. Last seen December 4th. This nest probably was blown out of the tree. 40°48.061′ N, 111°52.339′ W.

• 1 basket nest 400 feet down canyon from picnic site 6, north side of the road. 40°48.033′ N, 111°52.359′ W.

• 1 hemisphere type twig nest 300 feet down canyon and around the bend from picnic site 6, south side of the road. 40°48.047′ N, 111°52.351′ W. Possible squirrel nest.

• 1 twig nest 400 feet down canyon from picnic site 6, north side of the road. 40°48.062′ N, 111°52.337′ W. Difficult to see. Is located in a branch thicket. Possible squirrel nest.

• 1 hanging basket nest 100 feet down canyon from picnic site 6, high in tree, north side of the road. 40°48.142′ N, 111°52.307′ W. Unable to locate on December 7th. Probably fallen from tree.

• 1 Paper wasp nest in the end of the hand-rail tube on the red bridge near mile 0.9. 40°48.180′ N, 111°52.281′ W. Easy to see. Look down the open tube ends.

• 1 Bald-faced Hornet nest 300 feet up canyon from red bridge, north side of the road. 40°48.208′ N, 111°51.219′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 Peregrine falcon nest in the north-west wall near mile 1.0, visible only from the Pipeline trail. 40°48.227 N, 111°52.204 W on pipeline trail. Look above the split in cliff face due west. Barely visible without binoculars. Easy with binoculars.

• 1 possible twig type nest 400 ft down canyon from picnic site 7, south side of the road. 40°48.240′ N, 111°52.219′ W.

• 1 small circular woven hummingbird type nest 125 ft down canyon from picnic site 7, south side of the road. 40°48.246′ N, 111°52.030′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 circular type twig nest up canyon from picnic site 7, south side of the road. 40°48.260′ N, 111°51.980′ W.

• 1 medium sized hanging basket type nest 100 feet up canyon of picnic site 7, south side of the road. Unable to locate on December 6th. May have been felled by snow storm since December 3rd.

• 1 small platform twig nest 300 feet down canyon and around the bend from picnic site 7, south side of the road low in a Gambel’s oak. 40°48.259′ N, 111°52.890′ W.

• 1 snag nest across the stream from picnic site 7 in a forty foot tall dead tree, south side of the road. 40°48.253′ N, 111°51.989′ W. Easy to see. Look at top of dead, white vertical trunk.

• 1 possible snag nest at the up canyon end of picnic site 7, south side of the road. Several small holes are drilled at the top of the snag. Also 40°48.253′ N, 111°51.989′ W.

• 1 snag nest across the stream from picnic site 7 in broken tree leaning towards south side of the road. 40°48.253′ N, 111°51.989′ W. Difficult to see. Entry hole is in the side of the trunk facing down canyon.

• 2 medium sized platform twig type nests 100 feet up canyon of picnic site 8, one on the south side of the road and a second on the north side. 1 basket circular nest high in south tree. 40°48.277′ N, 111°51.936′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 Bald-faced wasp nest at picnic site 9, south side of the road. See November 27th. 40°48.288′ N, 111°51.889′ W. Elevation 5051 feet. Easy to see.

• 1 Paper wasp nest at the pipeline gas safety value across from picnic site 10, north-west side of the road. The nest is inside the hanger for the gate. 40°48.317′ N, 111°51.784′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 small basket nest 100 feet up canyon from milepost sign 1.5, south side. 40°48.324′ N, 111°51.601 W. Easy to see.

• 1 small circular twig nest 250 feet up canyon from milepost sign 1.5, south side. 40°48.331′ N, 111°51.570′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 snag nest 300 feet up canyon from milepost 1.5 sign near “Service vehicle” sign. 40°48.334′ N, 111°51.540′ W. Difficult to see. The vertical white snag is hidden inside a copse of Gambel’s oaks.

• 1 grass woven hummingbird nest 200 feet up canyon from picnic site 12, south side. 10 feet high in a Gambel’s oak. 40°48.380′ N, 111°51.514′ W. Easy to see.

• 1 snag nest at the up canyon side of the old Pleasant Valley Reservior clearing, 150ft south west of the road on the trail. The snag nest entry hole is near the top of a 25 foot tall, white broken trunk, approximately 12 inches in diameter. 40°48.370′ N, 111°51.349′ W.

• 1 sling hanging-type, medium nest 100 feet down canyon from the milepost 2.0 sign, north-west side. 40°48.433′ N, 111°51.142′ W. Elevation 5024 Feet. Easy to see.

Totals by Type:

Grass-woven basket 10 (Probable hummingbird nests)

Circular twig 6

Platform twig 6

Basket hanging 4

Snag 6

Cliff platform 1

Subtotal 32

Bald-face wasp 6

Paper wasp 2

Subtotal 8

Total 40

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