A great morning for beautiful birds

I headed down to Fort Desoto at the end of August not expecting much. As I headed out to the north beach I was greeted by a few spoonbills. I rarely see them here and in fact it was probably last fall when they were in the same spot. I wonder if these are the same ones that have stopped by for a rest.

I found a few red knots hanging out with one of the resident reddish egrets.

A red knot still in breeding feathers.

The best part of the morning was seeing an uncommon avocet. It wasn’t really a surprise though. I had heard 2 were here but wasn’t counting on actually finding it so it was a bonus to walk up on it. I didn’t see the other one although it may have been hiding in the sanctuary close by. There were 3 that hung out here last fall and I was able to catch those on 2 visits.

A young skimmer fluffing up his feathers.

A dunk and a catch.

Looking over through the sea oats over to Egmont Key in the distance. If you look close in the right hand side, you can see an osprey sitting on a branch on the beach.

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Rainy morning at Bear River Refuge.

The only new thing I saw at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, just north of Salt Lake City, was a ring necked pheasant (the blurry photo above). We saw several from far away but they were very skittish and would dart under the bushes when they saw us drive nearby.

The scenery was beautiful with the mountains in the background. The refuge is a one-way 12 mile drive where the fresh water Bear River meets the northeast section of the Great Salt Lake. It should have been full of ducks and birds but two things were not in our favor. The long drought and a recent prescribed burn. We saw very few animals. Actually a third thing since this was the only day we say rain, it drizzled the entire time we were there. The sun peaked out quickly right before we were leaving.

The rental jeep was filthy due to the mud on the gravel drive. We stopped at a car wash before heading back to the hotel.

A big statue of an avocet in the nature center.

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A first for me

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The week after Thanksgiving I had read that a single American avocet had been seen at a small beach on the causeway near my house. I meant to get over there right away but it was a busy time and I forgot.  A week later I stopped on the beach to see if the bird was still there. The tide was low and there were a ton of laughing gulls so I thought I would have to spend some time looking through all of them. Right when I got out of the car I saw a guy laying on the beach taking pictures of a bird off by itself that was sleeping.  I sat on the sand for a few minutes watching the avocet sleep. Then some people walked by and it woke up the bird. Eventually, the avocet started moving around. I only stayed for half an hour and took tons of pictures but it was worth the stop. It’s rare for avocets to be on our side of the state and they don’t stay for longer than a day. If someone reports one being spotted at Fort Desoto, if you’re not there in an hour, it’s gone so after years of missing them, I finally got to see one.