Yesterday morning was clear, crisp and I felt the need to spend time alone in nature because it soothes me and quite frankly of late I feel I need to be out where the birds are singing instead of watching the news. I headed to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge because of the wide open spaces, the sounds of the marsh and of course the birds. I reached the off ramp of I-15 just as the rays of the sun started to light up the marshes on the drive out to the auto tour route and it was warm enough to have my window down to hear the calls of the curlews overhead, the chittering of kingbirds and meadowlarks singing their morning songs.
When I reached the beginning of the auto tour route I was surprised that I didn’t see even a single fisherman along the banks of the river. I felt like I had the place to myself and when I reached the end of the auto tour loop I hadn’t seen another vehicle so I guess for a bit I did have it all to myself.
I stopped at the far northwestern tip of the auto tour route to watch some Canada Geese families swimming in the river as Cliff Swallows flew overhead and was entertained by a Red-winged Blackbird dive bombing a male Northern Harrier. I took a few images of the Canada Geese and their goslings and sat savoring the moment when I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye.
The movement and bird that caught my eye was a Spotted Sandpiper teetering on a rock right next to the water. I adore Spotted Sandpipers so I just had to take images of the butt bouncing bird. Still images can’t capture the teetering but I found a video that shows what they look like when they bounce up and down and it can be seen here.
And you can listen to the song of Spotted Sandpipers below:
I was able to get a few photos of the sandpiper before it flew off due to the interaction of the blackbird and the harrier.
A few Spotted Sandpiper facts:
Female Spotted Sandpipers may mate with up to four males, the males then incubate the eggs she lays and the males raise the young. This is called polyandry. There are exceptions to this where the female mates with only one male and does a little to help raise the young.
Another thing that I find very interesting about Spotted Sandpipers is that the females can store sperm internally for up to one month so the eggs they lay may be fathered by more than one male.
When I left the refuge yesterday I felt refreshed and rejuvenated by my time alone with the birds and the marshes.
Life is good.
I missed seeing Galileo, the Short-eared Owl I helped to rescue, at HawkWatch yesterday but I know I will see him again. That little guy is going to be a great education bird from what I hear.