Four Spots to Wing It
Utah’s peak birding season runs through late May and again from July through September. Here’s where to bring your binocs.
This story is found in the Summer 2019 edition of Park City Home.
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
Even newbie ornithologists know that one of the world’s top birding sites is 90 minutes north of Park City. Bear River’s 74,000 acres host millions of migrating birds including the American White Pelican, Black-necked Stilts, and the largest White-faced Ibis colony in North America. There’s a fine education center, a 12-mile driving loop (plenty of pull-off spots for pix), and a 1.5-mile walking trail.
As if driving the Mirror Lake Highway up to Bald Mountain Pass isn’t enough for Uinta Mountains eye candy, once you descend to Mirror Lake you’re in for exceptional sightings of high-elevation birds. Watch for Golden Eagles, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Mountain Chickadees. Up past the treeline, lucky birders spot White-tailed Ptarmigan in the open alpine tundra.
Birds of a feather flock to the Millcreek Canyon highlands of Salt Lake County, about 30 minutes from Park City, where Calliope Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds congregate, along with such upper-elevation species as Dusky Grouse, Steller’s Jay, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. If you’re keen on seeing a Flammulated Owl, locals say the Desolation trail is a good place to scout.
Identified as an official Important Birding Area by the National Audubon Society, the acreage below the Jordanelle Dam hosts several birds on the sensitive species list, most notably the bobolink, known for its bright, bubbly song. Also keep an eye and ear out for Western warblers, flycatchers, and daredevil American Dippers.
For more stories from this edition, visit the Park City Home special section.
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