Long-billed Curlew feeding in a lagoonLong-billed Curlew feeding in a lagoon – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm at 340mm, natural light

Long-billed Curlews have begun to leave or have left their wintering grounds and should be winging their way to Utah and arriving here any day now. Their calls will soon be heard at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Antelope Island State Park and beyond. It won’t be long before there will be aerial displays, territorial disputes and pair bonding.

Long-billed Curlew at the edge of a lagoonLong-billed Curlew at the edge of a lagoon – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm at 330mm, natural light

Last week I thought I heard a lone Long-billed Curlew call while I was on Antelope Island State Park photographing other birds but the sound only happened once and perhaps it was just wistful thinking on my part. I do miss these graceful grassland shorebirds when they are gone for the winter and last year they showed up the middle of March. It has been very spring-like here and they might just show up early. I know I can barely wait to see, hear and photograph them in Utah and shortly after that in Montana.


P.S. The Long-billed Curlew in these images were taken in Florida in 2009.