Monday, October 3, 2016

Nature Experienceship - Birding with Merrill Webb

This week was an official changing point as summer turned to fall on Thursday September 22. And we sure felt it. Buckets and buckets of rain seemed to just be waiting for the signal. Although we were worried the rain might make things difficult, Nature Experiences’ Birding with Merrill Webb was still a huge success. We all were grateful for thick coats as we all gathered before dawn to begin our adventure. And what an adventure it was! Beginning at Utah Lake State Park we saw a huge number pelicans, seagulls, killdeer, osprey, and many more. Right as we were about to leave we saw a beautiful Merlin perched up in a tree This was quite the treat for us; we were so excited to see this rare, small species of falcon.
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After Utah Lake, we headed off towards Spanish Fork to a rural little area called Palmyra. Although worried that the rain might have driven them away, we were determined to hunt out the the magnificent Whooping Crane. And find them we did! Huge flocks of them flying overhead and standing idly in old corn fields. This definitely proved a highlight of the trip.

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Moving on, the third place we went to was Salem Pond. Considering how rainy and grey the day was, it was no surprise when we caught a bandit creeping around in the bushes: the Black-hooded Night Heron! His partner in crime was also there, the dipping and diving grebe. We felt especially lucky as we watched a mother grebe repeatedly dive under the water the find some food and bring it back to her little baby.
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Here is the more-or-less comprehensive list of all the birds we saw:
Canada Goose
Ring-necked Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Western Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-crane
White-faced Ibis
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Sandhill crane
American Avocet
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Caspian Tern
Eurasian Collared-dove
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker
Say’s Phoebe
American Robin
Tree Swallow
European Starling
American Crow
Black-billed Magpie

Again, we’d love to give a huge shout out to Merrill Webb, because without him, we would have just been a group of freezing kids standing around a pond asking “what’s that?” Fortunately, he knew all the answers.

Yours Truly,
The Bean Museum Educators

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