I've just returned from an epic two-week work/vacation road trip to the Rocky Mountain West. Salt Lake City, UT to Jackson, WY to Bozeman to Arco, ID back to Salt Lake City then to Park City before on to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in the south. I'm jealous of myself just typing that.
|Eared Grebes, mostly, from the Antelope Island Causeway|
I want to use this space to talk about the most impressive birding sites I saw on the trip: those along the Great Salt Lake. Holy cow, you guys. I was able to spend some time at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge on the north end of the lake, as well as at Antelope Island State Park. Being by far the largest body of water in the West, the Great Salt Lake is a gathering point (for breeding and wintering) for millions of birds. And I mean millions. I don't think I've ever seen concentrations of birds like I saw out there. What follows is going to be a lot of pictures of cool stuff. Click to enlarge.
|Look for Bear River MBR along the northeastern side of the Lake, and Antelope Island SP on the southeast, where that bison is.|
So, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is just what it sounds like. A big huge bird refuge with a ton of ponds along the delta-ish part of the north lake. I don't need to spend a lot of time describing it, I just want to get to pictures, OK? OK.
Before this trip I had seen Franklin's Gulls just once in my life, in Mississippi. But there are thousands on the Great Salt Lake (and Avocets, in the background, but we'll get to them later). These gulls cruise the shorelines along with Fosters and Black Terns.
|Pronghorn on the beach|
|Ma! Git the flintlock offa da mantle!|
|If only all lifers were so obliging|
|Ugh fall empids. Hammond's?|
|Avocets as far as the eye could see|
|Red-necked Phalaropes wheelin' and dealin'|
|A Ring-billed Gull plows a wake through insects|
|Long-billed Curlew along the shore|
|Again, LOOK AT ALL THOSE GREBES|