Bird watching is a fascinating activity and wetlands are some of the best places to look. There is a little wetland area near the Jordan River on the southwest side of Lehi, Utah that is a great place to watch birds. Many varieties migrate through and stop here or live here year round. Powell Lake is not actually a lake at all, but a shallow collection of little ponds and protected wetlands for birds.
It is a gorgeous place to watch the sunset or sunrise!
Part of the Jordan River Trail goes around the area. I stay on the trail so the birds can have their area to feel safe, but I am glad I can often find some great birds from the trail. Many birds migrate, so you are likely to find different birds in different seasons.
Summer Bird Watching
Bullock’s Orioles are a beautiful yellow birds. like many birds they have sexual dimorphism, which means the males and females have different colors or sizes. Nearly all male birds with sexual dimorphism much brighter plumes than the females. That is also the case with these orioles.
American White Pelicans have enormous wingspans nine feet wide! During the breeding season they develop a knob on their beak, but most have lost it by this time of year.
Great Blue Heron
Blue Herons have a long curved S- shaped neck and a long bill.
The Sora is a somewhat rare small marsh bird.
Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows
Swallows skim over the water at such a fast pace and unpredictable zig-zag pattern that they are tricky to photograph. Their flight is about 11 meters per second and their wings are flapping about 15x per second, so it is a challenge to get the focus right . It is also hard to see the details of the swallows with your eyes because they are moving so quickly and you are typically observing them from a distance.
The barn swallows have a long forked tail and cliff swallows have an even tail.
This juvenile or non-breeding spotted sandpiper chirped loudly as it looked for invertebrates under the surface.
This male California Quail was strutting his stuff for me tonight!
Of course there aren’t only birds to find. This photo was taken when it was pretty dark, but these “Bambi” fawns are too cute!
Spring Bird Watching (April)
One of the birds that has been there for a few months is the Snowy Egret. Snowy Egrets are medium-sized herons with black bills and yellow near the eyes. The wispy plumes on their heads are grown during the breeding season. During the late 1800s the plumes were worth twice the price of gold. Luckily the the shore birds have had a recovery of their population since then.
Great Egrets look similar, but have yellow bills and are much larger.
American White Pelicans
Pelicans are large birds with a nine-foot wingspan. During the breeding season both males and females develop little knobs on their bills.
There isn’t much cuter than babies!
I love how the mother protects her chicks!
During the breeding season the adult avocets get that rusty pink coloring. The rest of the year they are grey.
Yellow-Headed Blackbird and Red-Winged Black Bird
There are also other birds, like merganser, teals, mallards, killdeers, magpies and many common tree birds.
The remainder of this post are photos I took back in December and January.
Eurasian Collared Dove
Song Sparrow and European Starling
Black Capped Chickadee, Spotted Towhee, and American Tree Sparrow
Sometimes there are very large flocks of California Gulls there. I am still practicing my wildlife photography, but there are plenty of subjects for me to practice on.
American Coot and Mallard Ducks are common, but fun to see.
I am still learning to recognize the different birds when I see them. This photo gallery of Utah Birds has been enormously helpful. I also use descriptions in Google searches. I am looking forward to watching and photographing more birds throughout the year. Another amazing place for bird watching, including eagles, is Farmington Bay.
Stats: Distance – 0-0.5 mile round trip
Approximate hiking time – 5-60 minutes
Elevation gain – 2 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – dirt and rocks, paved Jordan River Trail Connector
Bathrooms – None
Seasons to hike – Year Round
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes
Map to Powell Lake