April 20, 2011
Well - that title says it all. This spring in northern Utah, with record snowfalls still in the mountains and heavy rains recently - we have a LOT of water rushing into and thru the Refuge right now. Unfortunately - it has made our Auto Tour Route unsafe to drive - and it is temporarily closed until further notice.
I was watching the water rise recently - and, while it's sad for birders like myself to not be able to get out on the Refuge to see the birds we love so much - I began thinking about all the birds that have already begun nest building and even rearing young (as we have seen our first brood of goslings on the Refuge). I wondered how many poor little Marsh wren males have had their dummy nests lost to high waters. I thought, man, I hope all that work the Pied-billed grebes and coots put in to their floating rush nests hasn't washed away. And THEN I thought about all the Snowy plovers, least sandpipers and other shorebirds that do NOT like deeper water...and hoping that they would still be able to find some quality feeding stopover sights this year.
Wildlife is often much more resilient than we realize...so I'm sure most of these species will be fine and will adapt to the conditions. These weather cycles have been around throughout history and I'm sure are nothing new to the wrens or the plovers, but it still made me think. It will be interesting to watch as the months go by and the water continues to rise . . . how everything will pan out in the very WET wetlands of the Bear River Refuge this spring.
- Jason St. Sauver