Monday of last week was the first day of the 2008 ABA Convention, which meant registration and a dinner. No guided field trips would occur until Tuesday. Since I was already there, and registration takes all of five minutes, I took my own personal field trip to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The Bear River starts in eastern Utah, flows north into Wyoming, then hangs a left into Idaho before finally flowing south back into Utah and the northern end of the Great Salt Lake. The last few miles of the river before it flows into the Great Salt Lake is where the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is located.
If you enjoy bird watching, and find yourself near Salt Lake City, you should visit Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. Start at the visitor center, located right next to I-15 near Brigham City. The bird watching there alone is very nice. When you leave the visitor center and drive to the actual refuge, be patient and bird along that route. Within the refuge itself, you follow a gravel road along a wide loop and continue to bird from your car. Starting at the visitor center, I birded about five hours before hunger changed my priorities and I decided to leave the refuge before finishing that wide loop. I could have birded two or three more hours if I had brought some lunch with me.
This post (and the next few) will highlight some of the birds I found on my visit to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The first is a Western Meadowlark. I saw these all day, but mostly at the visitor center and along the drive to the refuge. To me, they look almost exactly the same as an Eastern Meadowlark, but their song does sound different. This particular Western Meadowlark was at the refuge visitor center. He decided to roost on a nearby post, allowing me to get this photograph.