by Louise R. SHAW
FARMINGTON BAY—They are just passing through on their way from California to northern Canada.
But hundreds of tundra swans got some much-needed rest in Farmington Bay last Saturday, drawing interested onlookers on a bright, clear morning.
“It’s a stop-over site for them to rest and refuel,” said Nicaela Haig, information technician with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “They eat as much as they can and then they’re on their way to the Arctic in northern Canada where they will make nests in late spring.”
Virva and Jerry Sandorf were among the dozens of onlookers who drove the dirt road as far as possible through Farmington Bay to see the migration.
Though the swans had drifted far to the east of the viewpoints accessible by car, DWR officials set up spotting scopes so participants could see the floating, bobbing waterfowl.
“I’ve never been to Farmington Bay but read about this in the Clipper and it’s just a great place to come,” said Virva Sandorf. “I thought you had to go to Antelope Island to get this kind of view but it’s a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.”
Sandorf said she had seen swans in Finland, her mother’s homeland, and said it was “really neat” to be able to see them close to her current home.
County commissioner Jim Smith said he is a neophyte bird watcher, calling it “kind of addicting.”
“It’s a great way for people to get out in nature and get away from screens,” he said. “It’s an important thing for our young people to have these experiences.”
Beth Zeleny is originally from Virginia but now lives in Spanish Fork. A geographer by profession, she had come to the bay in February to see migrating eagles and was there again to watch the swans.
“It is so wonderful to be able to see the migration,” she said. “It is so interesting to me. I love these trips and all there is to see in Utah.”
About 2,500 swans are estimated to be at Farmington Bay this month, according to David England, assistant manager of the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. This is the peak of their migration, which goes through the end of April.