Go Birding: The finest birding now at Bear River Refuge

Jul 7 2011 - 6:42pm

A black-necked stilt nests in flooded grasslands along the county road that...

Flooding along the county road leading to Bear River Refuge has been a curse and a blessing this year. Sometimes the deluge has closed the road. But when the road is open, birding is the finest I've seen with the extra perks of new pavement, many pull-offs and several parking areas adjacent to prime marsh habitats.

The fun begins just west of the interstate before even passing the visitor's center. White-faced ibis, marsh opportunists, graze in flooded areas that have been dry for the last few years. Cliff and barn swallows course low over the saturated marsh grasses while gathering insects. A mallard pair, alert, stretches their necks and heads like periscopes above the grass. Common ravens survey the scene and croak from power pole perches where their unkempt stick nests punctuate the crossbars.

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