At Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

When I planned our birding trip, the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge was supposed to be the main destination and we planned to spend two days, or longer, there. It certainly started out on a high note.

We spotted several Curlews

in the fields on our drive to the refuge.

The ditches leading up to the auto tour were filled with Yellow-Headed Blackbirds,

where we had never seen them before.

We spotted several Snowy Egrets in the ponds

and flushed two or three juvenile herons at the beginning of the auto tour.

Unfortunately, that auspicious beginning turned out to be misleading. Most of the refuge had been drained for “20-year” repairs to the dikes. We only saw a couple of Avocets and not a single Western Grebe with chicks. We drove 6 miles looking at parched, cracked land that revealed what the refuge would probably look like without government intervention.

We ended up circling the refuge twice in one day and would probably have left mid-day if we hadn’t already reserved a room for the next night. Ironically, the day we got to Santa Rosa I got a note from John telling me of the repairs, so we must have both been there at nearly the same time.

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