20th Anniversary Trip – Day 2 Utah

I woke up bright and early on Day 2 in Provo, Utah.  We stayed at a hotel that was next to the Provo River.   There was a beautiful bike trail along the river.  I headed out first thing to see if any birds were out along the river.


Provo River


Provo River

It was barely light which made it tough for photos.  I noticed later my pics have a lot of noise as I had to set my ISO so high.  Why didn’t I think to use a flash???  Ah well…live and learn.

There was a bush along the river that was covered in berries.  The birds were all over this bush.  They were busy eating and not minding me too much.


American Robin


Cedar Waxwing

After breakfast we headed over to Utah Lake State Park.  I had n0ticed on eBird that a lot of bird sightings are posted here.  Sounds like my kind of place!

The lake was a beautiful place.  If I lived in Provo, I’d be there all the time!  Along the road to the lake, there was all kinds of fun stuff to see and do.  One of my favorites was a Zipline Park.  Lots of ziplines to ride.


The owner of this storage rental place was using the property to store and display his old Americana collection


When we got to the lake, we drove out onto one of the jetties that was alongside the marina.  The first bird I saw was this Clark’s Grebe.  He popped up briefly for a photo.


Clark’s Grebe

Then out along the beach area were lots of Black-Necked Stilts, White-Faced Ibis and seagulls.  Most of the birds were too far away for any decent photos.  But I had to take a few pics anyway as some of the gulls were new birds for me.  🙂


Black-Necked Stilts


Franklin’s Gull

We then drove over to the marina.  This was a really nice place.  I saw several birds in this area enjoying the beautiful morning.


My handsome husband Tim at the Utah Lake Marina




Great Blue Heron


White-Faced Ibis


Ring-Billed Gull


American Avocets – with the lighting and their winter plumage, this photo almost looks like a water color painting

We headed around the marina to the jetty on the other side.  Along this jetty there was the Provo River flowing into the lake.  There was a large area with cattails that was filled with birds.  You could hear and see them, but it was almost impossible to photograph them.  I barely got a pic of the numerous Marsh Wrens.


View of the extensive cattails along Provo River and the river delta beyond.


Marsh Wren


Song Sparrow

While trying to photograph all those Marsh Wrens flying about, an Osprey flew right by us trying to catch a fish in the river.  As you can see, he missed.  We saw him fly by again looking for another target.


Osprey missing his breakfast



As we neared the end of the jetty, we saw where the river flowed out into the lake.  There were so many birds here!  Sadly most of them were very far away.  I had my 800mm lens fully extended to get any photos.

There were flocks of American White Pelicans, various seagulls and Caspian Terns.


American White Pelicans


Various Gulls – Ring-Billed Gull, Herring Gull, California Gull


Caspian Terns with a Herring Gull juvenile in the back left (both new birds for me!)

And among these flocks there were quite a variety of shorebirds.  I have a lot of difficulty identifying these little guys.  Especially when they are in winter plumage.  So if I’ve misidentified any, please correct me!


Baird’s Sandpiper


Western Sandpiper


Solitary Sandpiper

Along the jetty was a large flock of Northern Rough-Winged Swallows.  There was a favorite tree they liked to perch on.  Lucky for me! 🙂


Northern Rough-Winged Swallows

As were were heading back down the jetty, I saw this Snowy Egret busily feeding in the shallows.  And my first photo ever of a successful catch!


Snowy Egret


Snowy Egret with breakfast!

There was a nice park and trail along the Provo River.


You can just barely see Tim on the right bank.  He was caching grasshoppers and feeding the fish.  There was some giant carp in this river.


I loved this place! I could bird here for hours at a time!

Lots of birds here too!  By now the cloud cover had really started closing in and rain was threatening.


Yellow-Headed Blackbird


Black-Capped Chickadee


American Robin


American Kestral


Northern Flicker


Black-Billed Magpie

After a really fun and successful morning of birding, it was time to hit the road and head to Nevada.  On our way out, we passed by the Great Salt Lake.  I noticed that lots of people had stopped along the highway to write things on the white salt flats with black rocks.


You can see “Trump” spelled out in rocks in the lower right

We also passed a Morton Salt collection facility.


Morton Salt

We had a 5 1/2 hour drive to Winnemucca, NV.  After passing the Great Salt Lake, the scenery was pretty dull.    When we were getting close to Winnemucca, we noticed a large fire off in the distance.  When I looked it up on the internet, it was the smoke from a fire than had consumed over 122,000 acres of grasslands.  The wind was blowing that day, so I’m sure it consumed even more acreage.  Hopefully they got it put out by n0w.


Smoke from a 122,000+ acre fire in northern Nevada.

Stay tuned for Day 3!