Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

We spent much of today at the Bear River National Migratory Bird Refuge. This is a place we have visited several times, but I haven’t been there since 2007. Today I got to see the Tundra Swans, which I haven’t seen before, despite having visited in March before. I couldn’t get close to any of them, and my camera and binoculars were not quite adequate to get a really close-up view, but there were thousands of them. And they were clearly illustrating why they are not called mute swans (one of my books said their call was like yodelling. I kind of like that, and I can corroborate it.)

Here is a list of what we saw today (and a few notable no-shows), for reference next year. This past winter has been pretty mild and relatively dry in the Salt Lake Valley. The past month has been pretty warm, and the past week very very warm, in the 60s every day.

  • Tundra Swans, thousands
  • Coots
  • Double-Crested Cormorants
  • Mallards
  • Blue-winged teal (I think)
  • Common goldeneyes
  • Pelican (only one — I was so surprised when the giant white sleeping bird stirred and showed a huge yellow beak!)
  • Yellow-headed blackbirds
  • Western meadowlarks
  • Horned larks (I think)
  • Great Blue Heron (only one this year — we saw several a couple of years ago in March — it was hunting, probably frogs, holding perfectly still and staring down into the water)
  • Harrier (notable because there were three hunting together, and I assume at least one was a juvenille)
  • Bald eagle (adult, solitary, hunting above the harriers)
  • Sandhill cranes (at least 16 — eating in a recently plowed, muddy field — I’ve never seen so many together before. They tended to be moving in pairs, but not all of them were.)
  • Avocets (only a few)
  • Killdeer
  • Canada geese
  • California gulls (and maybe ringbills, I didn’t look very closely)

Things we did not see which we have seen at other times of year:

  • Night Herons
  • Any types of ducks other than the above-mentioned ones — there may have been Gadwalls — I’m no good at distinguishing them from female Mallards — so, no other teals, Pintails, Redheads, Canvasbacks, Buffleheads, Ruddies, Shovellers
  • Red-winged blackbirds
  • Any type of grebe
  • Any type of swallow
  • Stilts
  • Any type of tern
  • Franklin gulls
  • Glossy ibis
  • Pheasant
  • Muskrats
  • Snowy egrets

I took only pictures of snakes. I just can’t get good picture of the birds, most of the time. But next to the place where we usually eat lunch, each spring the slope next to the pavilion is slithering with snakes. There weren’t a whole bunch today (yet?) but here’s a pic of one of the larger ones coming out of his hidey-hole.



About sayingthings

K lives in the US with her man and kiddos, knits, cans, dehydrates, bakes bread, (but doesn't cook regular food, particularly), crochets, spins, gardens, studies for a degree that never seems to end, and um, works. Sometimes she wastes time online. Also -- and family, she's looking at you here -- sometimes she swears and says things you might not agree with. But she still loves you.

Posted on March 19, 2009, in Fambly, The Great Outdoors. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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