March Adventure: World’s Largest Migratory Bird Refuge

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Okay, okay—so I’m not exactly positive it’s the world’s largest migratory bird refuge. But as we drove through Brigham City (which is where it’s located), the signs hanging over their Main Street said that exact thing, so if my facts are wrong, I blame that!

Matt and I had talked months and months (maybe years?) ago about visiting this bird refuge, but something I’ve discovered about myself is that unless I either have an activity planned for me (usually by my mom or sisters or husband’s family) or I have made a new year’s resolution to see/do something, I don’t take the time to do it. And I stand by what I said earlier about this particular new year’s resolution to take a day adventure every month—it can sometimes be stressful on the front end to plan, but I’m always SO glad we took the time and money in the end.

Saturday’s adventure was no exception.

 

The wildlife refuge is located several miles west of Brigham City, Utah, and it consists of a museum, lookout points right outside the museum, and a 12-mile loop around the marshes.

At first, we were just thinking of maybe visiting the museum and just driving to the head of the 12-mile loop (but not actually going around it since it’s a one-way drive on a dirt road with no turning around, which is always a bit dangerous with a tired almost-one-year-old). But then–wonder of wonders–Raven fell asleep in her carseat, so we were able to take the 12-mile loop without too many reservations.

Best. Idea. Ever! (It’s pretty much where we took almost all of our pictures!)

In addition to seeing scads of different waterfowl (many of which I’d never seen or even heard of before), the drive provided sweeping views of the cattail-lined marshes, wide-open blue skies, and snow-capped mountains off in the distance. It was like I literally felt my blood pressure drop several points as the car ambled its way along the loop. (And when we went, there were so few cars on it at the same time that we were at our leisure to go whatever speed we wanted or even stop in the middle of the road if something caught our attention.)

Although I’m sad that I kept missing the red-winged blackbirds that Matt kept spotting, I did manage to see a blue heron, some type of big crane, black-necked stilts (yes, I just had to look up the name), and a sweet-looking duck called a cinnamon teal. There were dozens more, but I’m so bad at remembering all the different names, so I just enjoyed the general splendor.

 

At the end of our drive, we even saw a miniature ferret looking at us from the side of the road with its beady little eyes. (I almost had to restrain Matt to make sure he didn’t put the car in reverse and try and go catch it–he REALLY wanted to go catch it. No, REALLY.)

We followed up our trip with lunch at Maddox, the best place (by far) to eat in Brigham City. And the best part? The guy at the table next to ours kept Raven entertained the whole time, so the lunch ended up being drama-free.

A great day!

Quick Facts about Brigham City’s Wildlife Bird Refuge:

Address: 2155 W Forest Street, Brigham City, Utah
Hours of Operation: the auto tour is open year-round (weather and road conditions permitting), but the visitor center has fixed hours (Tues-Fri from 8 – 5, Saturdays from 10 – 4)
Entrance Fee: None
Things to Do: visitor center/museum, 12-mile driving loop around the marshes, guided field tours and presentations on select days, hunting, fishing
Other Notes/Tips: The visitor center loans out binoculars, field guides, and even an audio tour to play in your car as you drive around the loop. Had we known we were for sure going to take the 12-mile drive, we definitely would have picked that up. Also, there’s quite a few bugs out there, so be prepared to possibly get bitten or for sure to have your car window covered with them by the end. Oh, and definitely don’t forget your camera! The views are stunning.

And now, for the rest of the picture dump –

Can’t wait for April’s adventure!

 

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