The Brine Fly Buffet begins on the Great Salt Lake

First of the year Brine FliesFirst of the year Brine Flies

Yesterday while near the marina on Antelope Island State Park I spotted my first of the year Brine Flies warming up on some of the rocks in the water. You might wonder “why” am I so excited about flies?

It is because I know how many birds feast on the little buggers! If the brine flies are out it won’t be long before the shorebirds that eat them arrive.  Last week there was ice on this water, how quickly things change. The image above was taken yesterday.

California Gull in a thick mass of Brine FliesCalifornia Gull in a thick mass of Brine Flies

This image was taken last year when the brine flies were thick, all of those little dark dots in the air, on the rocks and in front of the California Gull are Brine Flies. With billions of them in just a small area it is easy to see why the birds that devour them like the area of the Great Salt Lake. The California Gulls are already here and they appear to be eating the flies along the causeway.

Franklin's Gull with Brine FliesFranklin’s Gull with Brine Flies

It won’t be long before the first of the Franklin’s Gulls arrive too and for a short time the Bonaparte’s Gulls will feast on the flies too before heading further north. All those dark flecks on the water? Brine Flies.

California Gull with Brine Flies in flightCalifornia Gull with Brine Flies in flight

I do get excited about seeing the first Brine Flies because I know that their presence brings on the birds and the feeding frenzies that follow!

Mia

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.

10 Comments

  1. Pingback: A California Gull On The Wing

  2. Thank you for the comments everyone!

    Ingrid, Brine Flies don’t bite, they sort of tickle is all. I can’t think of any way they would bother the birds unless they eat too many :-)

  3. I absolutely love the setting and texture of these shots, and wish I could witness this phenomenon myself. Are they a bother at all to the birds, physically?

  4. Humming Bird lover

    Hi! I wonder are they a high protine food? ha ha migth be a way to survie if need be for humans,too??? Great pic’s

  5. And if they only swarm and don’t bite, it’s a bonus. Otherwise it looks like the conditions might be less than pleasant for the birder.

  6. I’m so glad spring is coming for them!

  7. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    As the snow melts all sorts of thing start to explode…. Here too the “joys” of spring arrive to let us know that the life has not lost any of its vitality!

  8. YUM! Let’s go have breakfast! heehee Didn’t know there was such a thing as “brine flies” but totally makes sense around the Great Salt Lake. Does make one wonder how all these creatures come to be!

  9. nice serie
    yes, things can change very fast when the weather becomes wormer like that
    the second picture is impressive with the flies fog.
    see you soon, eric

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