Sunday, July 4, 2010
Can You Say Chukar?
I finally tracked down not 1 but 3 chukars at Antelope Island SP at the great salt lake in Utah. But I am ahead of myself. I left Jackson, WY this morning at 6 AM planning to visit Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge which is located northeast of Salt Lake City. I made pretty good time, and even stopped briefly in Logan, UT to call my brother and his wife because they both graduated from Utah St. Univ. which is in Logan. When I arrived at the refuge I found that the auto tour was closed until 9/15, and the visitor center was closed for the 4th. I was sorely ticked off about this since it was one of the 1st places I birded back in my 20's, and I still have very fond memories of birding there with my brother, sister and a friend who now lives in Tucson.
Antelope Island SP is just 30 minutes south of Bear River, so I drove on down in hopes of finding a chukar. The woman working the entry booth suggested that I walk out to the end of Buffalo Point. This required walking up a steep hill, and then down thru some rocky/bouldery areas. Once up the hill, I fairly quickly saw 1 sitting on a rock. I slowly approached it in an attempt to get a photo for today's post, but it flushed before I could get close enough. I heard one calling further down the hill, and then spotted it. I made a 2nd attempt, and again it flushed with its mate.
Since I got no chukar shots, the top photo is of a singing lazuli bunting that I have posted for my friends back in Boulder and Austin who hiked with me last week. I saw 2 lazuli that day, but neither were close enough to see without binoculars, so my friends now can see what one looks like (remember to click/double click on the photo to enlarge). The bottom photo is of eared grebes in breeding plumage that I saw at Antelope Island. This shot is for my wife who did not see any eared grebes when we were together in North Dakota.
I saw 18 more new birds for the week with the chukar raising the YTD total to 632. I am now in my motel room trying to decide whether to fly tomorrow to south Texas for a couple of days in search of a rare yellow-green vireo that has been reported in Brownsville over the past 2 weeks. Stay tuned!