After a 2 night stay in Dillon my friend Robin headed home and the dogs and I headed south to our next stop. I had reservations at a Utah State Park north of Salt Lake City. I am a HUGE fan of staying in State Park campgrounds if I can get the services I need. I'd found this one of course back in December when planning my trip and reserved a spot for 2 nights with a full hookup. Willard Bay State Park is absolutely lovely and I cannot say enough for the behavior of my fellow campers - most with families. There were kids (pre-teens especially) wandering the Nature Trail the entire time but they were very well behaved. The big group a few spots down was playing horse shoes and I'd say at least 50% of the campers had dogs - none of which were running loose. What a treat! I also had the honor to meet a camper couple that pulled up across from me with the cutest little tear drop like I'd never seen before. It was called an A-scape made by the people that make the A-liner trailers. On my way out on Sunday they were the only ones up and moving and I needed a pair of eyeballs for a trailer light check. The husband came over, I commented on their trailer and I got a tour (didn't even have to go in). They'd moved up from a traditional bed only tear drop as hubby had back issues and wanted a trailer he could stand up in. This was compact and AWESOME. Come to find out it was one of the first off the line and they'd just gone to AZ to pick it up. Had a lovely little solar panel on the roof, a/c, a dinette/bed up front and a full kitchen with an under counter fridge. Nice and light inside and very light to pull. As we visited before I left I found out the live in Stevensville, MT. Made me smile.
The only warning about the campground is that due to it's location to the water and confirmation from other campers, come warm weather it is overrun with skeeter and bugs. I was not surprised so this was the PERFECT time to be there.
I had also noticed that this campground was fairly close to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and of course I saw the opportunity to possibly do some photos of birds. Of course I was up and out of the campground fairly early (the sun doesn't come over the mountains though till after 8). Here are the photos from that adventure. The visitor center wasn't open yet but luckily the flooding had subsided (happens every year) and I was able to enjoy the drive in to the auto tour. So here are birds and beautiful scenery from the area. I will say I was very impressed with myself and the way the bird photos turned out. Yes, I deleted a LOT but these I was very happy with (and I am my worst critic).
Am going with Glossy Ibis here only because the bird book said you cannot tell it from a White Ibis except in breeding season and even then it appears that is hard to tell....although I think the first photo might just be a White Ibis, the other two definitely fall in the Glossy Ibis category I think. I saw more ibis here than I've ever seen anywhere. They were very literally EVERYwhere. That was so surprising to me. I just didn't realize there would be so many in this area of the country.
A Cinnamon Teal and his girlfriend. Was very happy they were so calm and the light was decent. Aren't those red eyes just striking?
Not the most fabulous photo as these Long-Billed Curlew's were really moving snagging their breakfast. Still wanted to show it since I did see quite a number of them.
Another hard to photograph bird as they are about as freaky as ducks. Gotta love those American Coots though (and those freaky green feet).
I couldn't resist the line of swallows. They really have the cutest faces.
A little bit of shadow but this Meadowloark serenaded me and well, it really is my most favorite bird song ever.
There were amazing numbers of American Avocets out and about and I couldn't resist showing you all some of the preening activity going on. It did appear most were already paired up. I am getting to the point with some of my wildlife photos that I'm not looking for perfect portrait things anymore but rather photos that show more of who they are and what they do.
One particular reed and cattail bed was really close to the road and there was so much blackbird activity going on I couldn't resist. Both Red-Winged and Yellow-Headed blackbirds were hanging around as well as some super quick songbirds that I couldn't capture or identify. Always a challenge getting the right backgrounds when they are so busy but the last one is kinda different/cool.
A male Northern Shoveler. He was hanging with his girlfriend but they couldn't figure out if they wanted to stay together. Another hard to photograph dude because of light, freakishness and that light and dark. I have a closer one of him but I think I like this one better.
Most of the Western Grebes too were pretty freaky about anyone looking at them. Still some pretty good shots for far away and knowing they can dive and swim a loooong way before you get the camera focused.
These Black-Necked Stilts were so fun to see in such large numbers. I was very pleased with these first two shots (oh the challenges of black and white birds) but the water images after were some of my favorites.
I saved the best for last! This Snowy Egret is a first for me but I will totally admit that had it not been for another guy parked along the road behind his car with a camera I would have missed it! He of course had the prime light but I'm still pretty tickled at these!