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Not a ride tale...


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Just Saying.


We didn't know, so we took the truck. Besides, the warm sunny day that had been predicted came in with heavy overcast, a chill wind, and a generally stormy demeanor. By the time we reached our third destination:




the wind had died down, even if the gloom had not seen fit to dissipate. It seems however, that the folk in Brigham know what is what, and what is the bird refuge. Well, that and they have done an amazing job of preserving some beautiful old west buildings (maybe another time for those).


In any event, it was a good thing we came in the truck because the road to the refuge was under construction, and the "12 mile auto tour route" was all mud, as well. It wasn't an RT thing, and while a car may have made it, everything we saw out there looked like a truck or SUV to me.


For those who have come to expect decent photography from me, I am sorry, this is more just a chronicle of the day and place. Neither of us got any photos we really like, but they serve journalistic intent, and so a story is what you get today.




The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a wetlands on the east central coast of the Great Salt Lake, just off I-15. Fed, as the name implies, by the Bear River, the refuge consists of fresh water marshes:




Open water:




Or is that open ice?


and alkali mud flats. Yeah I made a picture but I didn't like it.


and some mixed areas:




The Bear River itself is a pretty major deal around these parts. It starts in the Uintas, east of Salt Lake, and winds through Wyoming, back into Utah, back into Wyoming and then up into Idaho, before retuning finally to Utah, where it forms the refuge, and feeds Willard Bay on the Great Salt Lake. At the refuge, areas are diked to maintain water levels, and we observed some pretty significant flows. We stopped to make a pic of this fellow, and while we got situated he swam up into a flume, then turned and rode it down to gain momentum for his get away.




We think he is a double crested cormorant. Apparently one of the first of the year, as the avid (read rabid) birders we saw had not seen any and needed to see the picture to believe.


We also saw bald eagles, tundra and trumpeter swans, the ubiquitous canada geese, mallards, pintail, red winged black birds, marsh hawks, and a bunch of california gulls.


Oh, and there was this:




She stayed rooted to the spot as we got near, and we started to wonder if perhaps she wasn't another decoy (the hunt clubs had placed many where they could, but birds, not deer). Then she took a few steps. But it wasn't until we got home and saw the pictures that we saw the apparent reason:




I don't know, they look a little big for fawns, and I don't see spots, but all we could figure was that for some reason she was guarding these two. Or maybe she is a he? Maybe those are little antlers just beginning to form the year on the head. I don't know deer.


On the way home it was still heavily overcast, and I really couldn't see the sun at all, but somehow this happened:




That bowl on the left looks like good skiing. For an image made at 75 mph and shot through the windshield, I'll take it.


Was good to go see the refuge. Next time we go that way maybe we'll stop in at the Hill AFB Museum.


One more off the bucket list of local attractions. Although I think we need to go back and catch the seasonal changes. There will be millions of birds here shortly.

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BIG place. If it was not a refuge, Louisiana type folk would have airboat rentals, and you would have seen nothing but airboat trails through the marsh. I will not even mention ATVs, oops.

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Really well done on that second picture, Jan. It has such a unique perspective.


I can see a print of those dimensions with a specially made frame hanging somewhere.

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Yeah David, I sunk in the mud for that shot.




One thing I just noticed about it, and I'm used to them here in the SLC Valley, but here you only see glimpses due to the development, are the really clear view of the unbroken benches left by the former (ancient) Lake Bonneville shorelines at the foot of the mountains. You can pick out two distinct major shorelines running almost the entire length of the range. On the left it appears there may have been some active slip faulting as the shorelines in the left most part of the image appear to be raised after the second to left most canyon. Very likely the canyon is a fault line. I have never seen the shorelines laid out so clearly before and can't believe that didn't jump out at me before.


Lake Bonneville

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