Friday, March 22, 2013

Birding at Farmington Bay

Great Blue Heron at Farmington Bay

Last Saturday, March 16, was "Tundra Swan Day" at the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.  Since I had not yet managed to see a tundra swan during their migration through northern Utah, I decided to try my luck at Farmington Bay.  This Great Blue Heron posed for photos near the entrance to the refuge.  The water was so still, his reflection was very clear!

Bald Eagle at Farmington Bay

Binoculars are very helpful in viewing the birds at Farmington Bay.  Some Division of Natural Resources (DNR) employees told me the ice on the water had broken up about a week ago, and the birds had a larger range in which to feed.  As I drove toward into the refuge area, I spotted this bald eagle.  Bald eagles winter in Utah, and are quite prevalent in January and February in this area, but this one lingered into March.

Goose Egg Island

My next stop was Goose Egg Island.  This part of Farmington Bay is open year round.  Some areas close during nesting season. Goose Egg Island is not really an island, but a mound formation from which you can view ponds and birds.

Turn-off to the Goose Egg Island parking area.

This dirt road takes you to the parking area on top of Goose Egg Island.  Today there were birders and families here, but there was ample parking, and fortunately it was not too muddy.  From Goose Egg Island I had my first look at a tundra swan.  I also saw Canada geese, American coots, and some northern shovelers.

Two tundra swans as seen from Goose Egg Island.

I drove down the dike road to see more birds. The "Unit 1 Dike" to the Turpin parking area is open year round to bicycle and foot traffic.  It closes to motorized vehicles during nesting season.  At the end of the road,  DNR employees had some spotting scopes set up and were on hand to distribute information and answer questions.  They informed me there were about 5000 tundra swans in the area.  I probably saw over 50 on my visit.

Tundra Swans dozing at Farmington Bay

After viewing the swans and seeing more American coots, I headed back to Glover Lane to visit another part of this refuge.  The Great Salt Lake Nature Center is also part of the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, and that is where I headed next.

My bird list for the day:
Red-winged blackbird
Canada goose
bald eagle
great blue heron
tundra swan
northern shoveler
American coot
redhead duck

For info on the Great Salt Lake Nature Center also at Farmington Bay, see Birding at Farmington Bay Part 2.

To see other posts about birding in Utah visit:

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a fun place. Can't believe that it is literally in the backyard of the neighborhood there.