Back to Bear River

This is the first year I’ve ever gone to The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge more than once, but after John’s earlier comment that I had just been too early to see Avocet chicks I decided I needed to return one more time this Spring/Summer and the second week of June was one of the few times I could fit it in.

Although my primary goal was to finally get a shot of Avocet chicks, the fact is that I find the refuge’s barren landscape nearly as compelling as Malheur’s harsh landscape, perhaps because it provides such a contrast to the lush, green landscape here in the Puget Sound. I’m always amazed that these places are so full of life, and I like to be Amazed. If the ultimate vacation is the one that makes us appreciate home when we finally return, then Bear River must surely be one of the best of all destinations. As much as I love it, I would not want to live there.

I’ve resolved to take a scenic lens on my next visit because it’s difficult to do much more than suggest the environment with a telephoto lens. For instance, Leslie and I were both surprised to see Avocets nesting in huge, exposed, barren salt flats like this.


It seemed far too exposed to provide a safe nesting site.

Considering how many Avocets we saw nesting on the salt flats, it was a little surprising to see this Avocet sitting on a nest in the middle of a shallow wetlands.


Perhaps the most amazing feature are the huge reeds that line much of the refuge, especially when seen in contrast with the barren land surrounding the refuge.

I’ve been to many wetlands, but I’ve never seen any taller reeds than found here.


Even Great Blue Herons seem small in comparison.


The Cliff Swallows ride the top of the reeds waving in the brisk winds that often sweep the refuge.


Although the “lake” is the focal point of the refuge, on this visit much of the action was to be found in the reeds that surround the lake.