October 14, 2014 Willard Bay State Park, Utah

Antelope Island
Antelope Island

A Day Trip Out to Antelope Island

Today I drove down I-15 and took the causeway out to Antelope Island. The island is a Utah State Park with a $10 admission. Getting there you drive the causeway through about 7 miles of dried up lakebed before arriving on the 5 mile wide by 15 mile long island. There were large numbers of gulls, coots, and redhead ducks on the east side of the causeway just as you approach the island and a marina, left high and dry by the drought, on the west side.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Meadowlark
Meadowlark

I took a look at the Bridger Bay Campground to see if I wanted to venture out here for a few days with the RV. There were meadowlarks singing from the bushes all around the campground, so that in itself will probably get me back out here.

Meadowlark
Meadowlark

The campground appears well maintained with paved pull through sites as well as backins. Each site has a concrete patio and firepit with pretty decent spacing between sites as well as a great view of the Great Salt Lake from every site. There are no hookups but there is a dump station just down the road. Sites are reservable on #$%&# Reserve America.

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

Driving south down the island toward the Fielding Garr Ranch, I spied a large bird riding the thermals above the mountain slopes to the west. Stopping and scoping the bird, I recognized it as the second golden eagle I have now seen out here in Utah. It came close enough on one of it’s loops for me to get a couple of shots.

Bison
Riding bareback
Bison and companions
Bison and companions
Antelope Island bison
Antelope Island bison

 

 

 

 

 

The island is home to around 500 head of bison and just past the ranch on a short stretch of rough gravel road, I found about 100 of them grazing and relaxing in a large field.

Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island bison
Antelope Island bison
Pronghorn
Pronghorn

One of my favorite animals, as well as the island’s namesake, the pronghorn antelope, was nowhere to be seen until I spotted a solitary animal off in the distance on my way back from the ranch.

From Antelope Island I headed a few more miles south to Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area.

Farmington Bay Ducks
Farmington Bay Ducks

Here I finally found where all the areas ducks were hiding out. Plenty of ducks, as well as the ubiquitous coots, were scattered in large numbers in the bay south of the access road. Only problem was, there was no way possible to get anywhere near them to get any decent shots.

Western grebe
Western grebe
Western grebes
Western grebes

Farther out along the refuge road, I came across a few Western Grebes that did allow me to get a few shots.

White faced ibis
White faced ibis
Greater yellowlegs
Greater yellowlegs

There were a few other stragglers at this refuge, mainly the lone white faced ibis and greater yellowlegs pictured above, along with some other small waders and a few white pelicans. If only there were some way to get beyond the reeds protecting the ducks from my camera lens.

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6 thoughts on “October 14, 2014 Willard Bay State Park, Utah”

    1. Next weekend they have a bison roundup on the island where I guess they gather them all up and steer them into the large holding area by the park maintenance buildings. There they administer shots and separate out animals that will be sold to keep their numbers around 500 on the island. The island is 15 miles long so it must be quite an endeavor to find them all.

  1. Oh, meadowlarks–singing their hearts out–that first photo is just wonderful. And I love the iridescence on the Ibis’s back. Nice yellowlegs, too. So many beautiful shots. I guess the ducks know how to avoid the hunters!

    1. At Farmington there were signs posting a 600 yard no hunting zone from the edge of the road/dike as you enter, called a duck resting area. Perhaps ducks are smarter than we think and can actually read, because that area was the only place in the refuge I saw any ducks. Thanks for nice comment.

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