Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, 2009

By Michael Wolfe and Amelia Jones – Wildlife Expert

After twice being delayed by Jehovah’s Witness at the front door we departed under threatening skies for the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge on the north end of the Great Salt Lake. A quick stop for $11 sandwiches and designer soda pop at Liberty Heist Fresh we hit the road. Upon arriving at the Refuge, the rain had stopped and the temperature was a balmy 60 degrees. As we’ve been commissioned to write a story for Cycling Utah Magazine the goal was to see as many birds as possible and document our adventure in our trusty journal.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Amelia Jones, Wildlife Expert

We passed a Pikey Camp as we entered the Refuge.

Pikey Camp

Once underway on the 12 mile dirt loop, we could see large columns of gnats extending a hundred feet into the air. The swarms were almost more than we could handle. The first observation deck was completely amass with these nasty creatures so we high tailed it west into the void, gnat column in tow. I’m amazed at how fast these swarms can fly. After a couple miles into a mistral, the swarms blew away and we were taken aback by a breathtaking view of the desert landscape and anvil clouds.

Gnat Swarm Promontory Mountains

The birdwatching and fighting of gnats let to a series of unfortunate events. As I was standing at the crossroads listening to the deafening screech of birds, I turned around and found Amelia lying on the ground suffering a bio-mechanical from which she quickly recovered.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Amy & Mike

Amelia in Repose

The rest of the photos: Link

Last year’s report including a list of bird we saw and photos: Link


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