The best way to spend a Saturday morning!
On Saturday, September 16th, nature enthusiasts gave up a morning of sleeping in and gathered at the museum before the sun came up to leave on an exciting bird watching event. The group was guided by Merrill Webb, a bird expert well known across the state. Webb had scouted out the event for several days prior to ensure that we would have the best experience possible.
The day revolved around the bird life near Utah lake and the Provo River Delta. At only the first stop, the group was able to identify several species of waterfowl (including heron, cranes, mallards, egrets, gulls, and pelicans) and spotted 2 bald eagles in the distant tree line. After moving a ways down the water’s edge, the group spotted an Avocet, Wood Duck, Kingfisher, Cooper’s Hawk, and even a Peregrine Falcon. Everyone was equipped with a pair of binoculars, and some in the group brought spotting scopes that were shared for an even better sighting.
The group continued south along the lake spotting several new species. A favorite among the group was seeing a mother Clark’s Grebe swimming in the lake with 2 chicks resting on her back, while watching others dive for fish, holding their breath for impressive amounts of time. Other species included ravens and crows, pheasants, terns, vultures, and sparrows.
The last spot the group stopped at was a more wooded area where Webb successfully called over a few black-capped chickadees (another favorite sighting of the group) and were also able to spot several yellow-rumped warblers, although it was hard to get a good look in the binoculars because they moved around so fast. Then, across the water, the group spotted 2 ospreys and some Canadian geese, for a total of 50 species for the day!
The event was wonderful for beginner and experienced birders alike. We are grateful to Merill Webb for taking the time to help the group appreciate the diverse birdlife so close by, and reinforce the need to protect and cherish our natural world.
Ben Pressler, museum educator