Who says winter birding is boring? I met up with Carl Ingwell out at the Saltair Marina
where he had keyed in on a first winter Iceland Gull
. Unfortunately when I got there, that bird had flown but after 30 minutes or so we had a first winter Glaucous Gull
show up. I'll be honest that I don't get too stoked about Gulls, but I'm starting to...
From there, I headed down the frontage road and through the Salt Lake International Center (IC). Highlights included a Great Horned Owl
(pictured), a Northern Shrike
, and a Ring-necked Pheasant
being a highlight only in that it was strutting down a street at the IC...I found this slightly odd.
I attempted to type in a park called Jensen Park up near Antelope Island into my phone's GPS and it picked the Legacy Nature Preserve instead. I don't know why but I went with it and followed the friendly voice on my phone north to the Legacy Parkway. After realizing the Legacy Nature Preserve was basically just a series of trails along the freeway, I decided I didn't feel like hiking and instead found a frontage road to drive along off of 500 south. It led me near the Bountiful Dump and a lake adjacent to it that had a lot of Gulls on the ice. Noted nothing unusual amongst the Gulls in a brief scan, but in the trees around the lake, I spotted something I found to be unusual for Northern Utah - especially in the winter: a Northern Mockingbird
I was glad to have found a new place to bird and after another try on the GPS, I was able to target Jensen Nature Park
. On the way the voice on my phone led me past several farm fields. In one I spied a Ross's Goose
amongst a bunch of Canada's. Upon arriving at Jensen Park, I found yet another Ross's as well as a first year Snow Goose
(pictured). Then I looked some more and started to be baffled at the number of ducks using a bit of open water at this park. Ruddy Ducks, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes, Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Mallards
, and what the heck were 6 Cinnamon Teal
doing there in winter? This seemed more like a pond in St. George.
Next stop, the Antelope Island Causeway. I ran into Steve and Cindy Sommerfield along with Jack Skalicky. Steve told me he doesn't like hats and won't wear one; he'd rather be cold. Steve rules. The highlight here (other than meeting up with friends) was a group of 6 Snow Buntings
. I was honestly pretty excited to find these. That's the most Snow Buntings I have ever seen and knowing they flew all the way from the Arctic Tundra to hang out here in the winter- it's just really cool.
The sun was beginning to set and I decided why not try for some owls at Farmington Bay
on my way back to Salt Lake. I caught glimpses of a Barn Owl
and a Short-eared Owl
just after the day ended.
Labels: mimids, Owls, waterfowl, winter