Sunday, April 2
This morning Joan and I went solo, driving north of Layton to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. We stopped for breakfast in Brigham City and then went towards the refuge. I had serious doubts that we were ever going to actually reach our destination because we were continually stopping to look at birds along the way. Highlights for us were Black-billed Magpie, singing Western Meadowlarks, lots and lots of American Coots (trash bird), several species of ducks-Redheads, Canvasback, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler (very common). Also Pied-billed Grebe, Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Stopped to see about 10 birds on a wire—American Pipits. Saw some Long-billed Curlews in flight. And American Avocets. Searched for several Virginia Rails we heard, but couldn’t find them. Horned Larks, American White Pelicans flying gracefully—all white with black on wings. All in all 33 species before we got to the refuge.
Click for more American Avocet images
On the refuge more of the same ducks, beautiful Avocets. Heard a Marsh Wren and took a while to finally see it. Who knew that every clump of phragmites would house a pair. Many were easily seen (some posing for us in the scope), many, many more heard. First Song and Savannah Sparrows of the trip. Franklin’s Gulls overhead—lifer for me. White birds in the water: White Pelicans with knobby bills and flocks of Tundra Swans. Pied-billed, Eared, Western, and Clark’s Grebes. A four Grebe day! Watched some courtship rituals of the Westerns’ but not the full dance. Saw one American Coot running on the water to another that ducked underwater just as the first one got there. They repeated this over and over, with the front coot showing its white rear feathers to the other. Also, saw other coots fighting and pushing each other with their feet. Lots of Harriers overhead. First Snowy Egrets of the year.
Cliff Swallow Nests
Then there were the Yellow-headed Blackbirds. What a raucous sound as there were hundreds in the phragmites. At another place they were flycatching the brine flies (can’t believe how many flies there were-glad they weren’t mosquitoes).
Click for more Yellow-headed Blackbirds
Saw 38 species in the refuge. 51 total for the day, 64 so far for the trip, 1 lifer. Utah is great!
Day 3: Lewis’s Woodpecker
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