Saturday, June 8, 2013

Birding the Great Salt Lake

Eric writes:

Greetings from Post Falls, ID

After finishing up my work in Arizona, I started driving north to Boise.  I had enough time to spend one morning birding, so I chose the Great Salt Lake.  My first stop was Antelope Island State Park.  I had heard great things about this spot and I wasn't disappointed.  The causeway to the island is spectacular for birding and I was there at a slow time of year.  It produces many great rarities in the fall and winter.  My target bird for the area was Chukar since I had never seen one.  It was fairly easy, within 15 minutes I had great looks at one sitting out in the open on a rock.

Chukar-an species introduced to the United States

Loggerhead Shrike-the backdrop is the lake
After birding for a few hours I headed a little ways north to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.  It was spectacular!  There were more Clark's Grebes within a 5 mile stretch than I had seen in my entire life.  Western Grebes were courting, Forster's Terns were fishing, White-faced Ibis lined the roadside, and many Franklin's Gulls were swirling about above the marsh.  I can only imagine what this place would be like during peak waterfowl migration.

A Clark's Grebes-you are able to get very close to these grebes!
A Western Grebe-very similar to Clark's but notice the bill color, black
over the eye, and dark sides.

Western Grebes during their courtship rituals.

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