bearriver Blog : swan

Whether we are open or closed, the seasons march on...

 I speak for everyone when I say ‘it’s great to be back!’ We are working hard at getting back on schedule.  The birds are here in full force, the waterfowl hunting season has opened, birders and photograhpers are here as well. Water levels are being checked and adjustments made. The L-line construction project will start up again. And at the Wildlife Education Center we are the getting back to business as usual. 

 It was an interesting 16 days during the Government Shutdown.  Everyone but our Project Leader Bob and LEO Greg were sent home.  Lucky for us Zone Officer Lisa was able to stay on the job as well.  Together they spent countless hours at the Refuge gates upholding the shutdown status. 

During the closure the waterfowl migrated into the Refuge in large numbers.  It was a ‘duck-nado’ said one officer.  The arrival of waterfowl signaled the departure of other birds.  Shorebirds, egrets, and pelicans are all moving to warmer climates.  The swallows are gone, but the American pipits are arriving and whether we are open or closed, the seasons march on.

In the past week since we re-opened, visitor's are reporting Rough-legged hawks, Tundra Swans by the hundreds, and the diving ducks are starting to arrive as well.  Plus, double-crested cormorants and great blue herons are gathering in flocks. Its a good time of year to see the Mule deer that frequent the Refuge as well. Come on out and see the Refuge for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Arrival of the BIG STARS!

Friday, October 25, 2012

Let's just admit it right now.  Bald eagles and Tundra swans are two of the biggest stars in the bird world, especially right here at the Refuge, and for weeks (and sometimes months) before their return...people are asking "Any swans yet?"; "When do the eagles get here?"; and "When is the best time to see swans and eagles?!"  Tundra swans and full moon over the BRMBR, by Lloyd Bush

Well folks...that time is just...about... NOW.  Swans have started to arrive on the Refuge..from just a few last week to hundreds and maybe thousands this week, and the number is expected to grow into the 10s & 20s of thousands into mid-November until the wetlands freeze over. Of course,    if they don't freeze over like last year       (due to such a mild winter)  we can have flocks of swans here straight through the cold months until March for Swan day on March 9. But - if we have a more regular year...by Thanksgiving or shortly after,   most of the swans will head south and west of us to Mono lake and southern California. (Photo: SWAN MOON, by Lloyd Bush.)

As for the eagles - it is possible to see some in the winter...but they prefer it around here when the ice is almost covering the wetlands with scattered open water to fish in.  The best month is February - hence we have Bald Eagle day on February 9th - but we do get "Baldies" coming in in late November and through December as well...so keep an eye out for this superstar.

So, Papparazzi birders, get your bins and scopes ready for the BIG BIRDS and their entourages...and don't forget to dress warm!

Happy Birding

 - Jason

Swans-a-sweeping

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011

The weekly swan survey from the Utah DWR came out this week - and the numbers are starting to dwindle.  The amazing and vociferous Tundra swans are slowing spreading out and heading south to warmer climes as the waters of northern Utah begin to freeze over.  At one point we held at or above 40,000 swans on the Refuge or nearby wetlands.  They return each year to rest and feed in the deep waters of the Refuge's Unit one and surrounding waters filled with nutrious vegatation such as sago pondweed.  Having the large expanse of healthy habitat certainly draws the flocks in and keeps them coming back.  And, while they are starting to leave for the winter, they will surely be back again as the ice starts to open up in March - so if you've missed seeing and hearing these white wonders, make sure to visit us (or other areas around the state like Salt Creek or Farmington Bay) on Utah's TUNDRA SWAN DAY - Saturday, March 10, 2012! 

Swans were also in the headlines in the SL Tribune this week:  http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/outdoors/52963120-117/swans-utah-tundra-birds.html.csp

Happy Birding

Jason