The auto tour route at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is open again so yesterday that was where I had to be. I had missed being able to see the marshes and the birds at the refuge and I was glad when I found out on Tuesday that it had reopened. The river is still running high and some of the flats are still flooded but the road was dry all the way to the auto tour loop and the dirt roads on the loop were on great condition. I haven’t seen this much water in at the refuge in a long time.
I love the spring weather we have been having but there is still danger of more flooding because of the early, very warm temps melting the snow too quickly in the mountains.
It was beautiful out there yesterday and it was quiet except for the calls of the birds. I saw my first of the year Western and Clark’s Grebes and Tree Swallows and I was excited about that.
I saw and photographed a mated pair of Sandhill Cranes yesterday morning in the marsh from the auto tour loop and watched them search for food. The have both molted recently and their plumage is a soft gray for now though it won’t be long and it will be stained from the water and muds found at the refuge.
Male Sandhill Cranes are taller and larger than the females so it was easy for me to tell their sexes yesterday.
The male seemed intent on keeping an eye on the female and looked her way often as he slowly walked through the marsh.
The midges, small flying, non-biting insects, were out in force yesterday and I even saw a few midge tornadoes along side the road. I also saw and heard one or two mosquitoes. Those insects will soon feed thousands of birds and the swallows are already feeding on them.
I know it is hard to see at the size posted but there are midges all around this cranes head.
The midges can bee seen as little dark specks near the crane’s head in this frame too.
I really don’t know why this crane was craning his head to look so high in the sky but there are still a few Bald Eagles in the area and maybe one flew overhead and the sandhill was just keeping an eye on it.
The female Sandhill Crane spent most of the time foraging for food while I watched and photographed her and a few times she raised her head to look for her mate. Sandhill Cranes mate for life and they will only look for another mate if their mate dies so they are often seen in pairs on their breeding grounds.
There are still Tundra Swans on the refuge but I wasn’t able to get close to any of them for frame filling images but I loved this “birdscape” that show the swans on the water at the refuge and the Promontory Mountain Range in the distance. The swans will be leaving soon to head to their breeding grounds much further north on the Canadian and Alaskan tundra.
I got my Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge fix yesterday.
Life is good.