excited for your return
Doesn’t this body of water look lonely, eagerly awaiting the return of migratory birds to fill it full of life, including the adorable playfulness of a whole new generation of baby birds?
It’s still phoneography month, and this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge encourages taking another photo with our camera phones. I took this photo with my iPhone almost two weeks ago at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah, USA. The water was mostly covered in ice still, and was too early for the migratory birds to make their appearance. We heard that the migration would occur a little later this year because the ice was taking longer to thaw, but we made the trip anyway hoping to see some year-round birds including bald eagles.
One year ago, this section of water was about like you see it (minus the ice), and full of various birds. However, having one of the driest seasons on record left this area and other units of the refuge dry or drying up by mid-summer, when we made our previous trip. It was sad to see this so dry, but the refuge was also keeping and diverting water only in priority nesting areas. At least we were able to see a higher concentration of birds in the priority areas.
It is refreshing to see this refuge full of water again and I am anxious to return when the migratory birds start arriving. According to information from the refuge, the birds have survived worst conditions than last year, but lets hope the future is better and brighter for them.
Here is another photo I took last weekend, on our second trip to the refuge this year. The bird is a Great Blue Heron. This photo was taken with my Pentax DSLR.
I’ve had several postings in the past related to this refuge. The refuge is on a delta of the Bear River in the northeast arm of the Great Salt Lake, and is the largest freshwater component of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. It “offers some of the most phenomenal water bird watching in the Western United States.” According to the US Fish & Wildlife Services, the refuge is “acclaimed as one of the world’s 10 best birding areas” and has “long been considered one of the most valuable wetlands in the intermountain west region.” It is a 74,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge and is host to millions of migratory birds yearly. Located the edge of two North American migration flyways, the Central and Pacific flyways, it is an important resting, feeding, and nesting area for birds in both flyways and is a habitat for more than 200 bird species.
The mountain range you see in the first photo is the beautiful Wasatch Range, home to many world class ski resorts and a host of other outdoor pursuits. Further to the right (south) near Salt Lake City, and just into these mountains, is where I live.