This morning, my husband and I headed out toward Utah Lake, turning along the west side of the Provo Airport dike toward the control tower. On a tip from the list, we knew a long-eared owl has been seen regularly in the area for the past couple of weeks, and I've been itching to add a new lifer to my list. We parked somewhat north of the tower, walking along the dirt road (none too easily in the mud and slush from the recent snowfall) until we came near to the tower. Just south of it we met up with a trio of birders and exchanged greetings, learning that the owl was still nearby. Indeed it was, and beautifully so! Finding owls can be a challenge as they're superbly camouflaged and not prone to either noise or movement that might make them more visible to birders, but if you know what to look for and watch for disturbed patterns in winter-bare branches, you just might add another to your life list, as I did today.
While the birding along the dike was not as prolific as one might hope, we did spot several species...
- Canada Goose - Several flocks flying overhead.
- American Coot - Happily swimming in small areas of open water.
- Great Blue Heron - Looking cold and forlorn in the field.
- Northern Harrier - Hunting beautifully over the field.
- Red Tailed Hawk - Both perched and hunting, as well as harassing the harriers.
- White Crowned Sparrows - Feeding along the road and flitting among the brush.
Check out these winter birding tips for finding the best birds in the bitter cold!