Long before we reached the driving tour at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge we realized that its appearance had changed from last year. The grass was taller than I’ve ever seen before, so tall that it was hard to see even Long-Billed Curlew.
We were also surprised to see Avocets
and White-faced Ibis in small ponds so close to the road.
Heck, I even managed to get a shot of a Franklin Gull,
something I’d been trying to do our whole trip.
Not far away, a Snowy Egret was hunting in what appeared to be a lake, though we knew from previous visits it was far too shallow to qualify as a lake.
In retrospect, if I’d known how different the refuge itself was from last year, I would have spent more time here because it was the closest I managed to get to Avocets or Ibis on the trip. It seems with all last winter’s rain that the refuge was managing the refuge differently than on previous visits. The wetlands where I’d gotten close-up shots of Avocet and Black-necked Stilt chicks last year weren’t wetlands at all; they were bone dry.