A great place for you to visit in early spring up in northern Utah is the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. It will not be a waste of your time! Such was my experience since I had a few hours to spend there. My drive inside started off rather well. The wind was howling, not too cold, and I was glad there was waterfowl galore to be seen!
What IS Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area?
Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area plays host to various marshes, tidal flats, open salt water (it is adjacent to the Great Salt Lake). The management area was built in 1935 and now the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources manages the area. The landscape there is also home to some freshwater ponds. Many types of tall grasses grow there which provide food and shelter for birds. During both the spring and fall bird migrations, there are many types of waterfowl you can observe there. Geese and ducks begin checking in during February, while shorebirds and wading birds arrive March to April.
What Can You Expect During the Year?
Some birds begin nesting in March at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. March through August is typically breeding and raising baby birds time, so part of the area is closed to provide the birds safety during this crucial time. Many species breed and nest at Farmington Bay, and there are some closures to the area during that period. Fall migration begins in September, followed by winter, in which Tundra Swans and Bald Eagles are mostly present.
How to Get Around There
The area is fed by the Jordan River and is managed with dikes, canals, and other methods to control the habitat. You can view from your vehicle or get out of it. Have a bike? The paths are flat and great for biking. Do you like photographing or like to video wildlife? If so, this is a great place for doing so. Bring binoculars and of course your camera! Even recording the sounds with your phone is way cool! Be sure to dress for the season you visit.
Who was There?
When I was driving in, the previous years’ cattails were a tan beige color. Cattails provide the perfect place for the Red-winged Blackbird and the Yellow-headed Blackbird. Rolling down the car windows can provide a second sense for locating and observing just who is lurking in the tall grasses. Their dark contrast of black against the tan grasses made them fairly easy to listen to and observe.
It was incredibly windy there the day I went, but mild in temperature. There were white caps on the waters and some birds seem to have been struggling trying to fly in the winds. The first foray of birds I encountered driving in were American Avocets, Northern Shovelers, American Coots and Canadian Geese.
Some of the Birds That Were Seen There
All in All
After visiting the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area I was really impressed with the waterfowl there. The close proximity you can get even from a car to observe the birds was incredible. The paths made it such that you could even hear the sounds the birds were making. It was nice to get out of the car, but the fact that you can take photos right from your car was a big advantage to me there.
Check it out online before you go to know when the best time would be for your visit, and when it’s hunting season there (if you plan to have a quiet visit). For seeing some great waterfowl, this is one place you don’t want to miss!