BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
ANTELOPE ISLAND - Plenty of Davis County’s feathered friends are living right next door.
Several of the field trips for the upcoming Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, set for May 16-20, focus on Antelope Island and the surrounding area. The trips explore everything from burrowing owls and shorebirds to some of the Great Salt Lake’s smaller inhabitants.
On May 17, sky meets ground in a field trip that touches on both the birds of Antelope Island and the rocks where they make their home. On May 18, a workshop at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington focuses on the mammals that share the birds’ island home.
The festival’s featured speaker, author and shorebird expert Kevin Karlson, will help lead a fieldtrip called “Shorebirds Made Simpler” on May 18 at 7 a.m. along the Antelope Island Causeway. The trip will help attendees distinguish different types of shorebirds through elements like size, shape and details of plumage.
For those wanting a harder scientific focus, Westminster College’s Great Salt Lake Institute will look at the smaller elements of the lake’s ecology. The field trip, which will include a visit to Antelope Island, will discuss brine shrimp, flies and more.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will take its turn on May 19, giving attendees a chance to take a trip on the division’s research boat. John Luft, a wildlife biologist who is responsible for monitoring the lake’s health, will lead the tour.
Owl lovers will have plenty of reason to go out to the island, with Owl Prowl field trips scheduled for May 16 and 19. These tours help attendees identify all the owl species that make their homes on Antelope Island. For those who want something more specific, field trips set on May 17 and 18 focus only on burrowing owls.
Birds and Spurs, with tours available May 16, 17, 19 and 20, gives visitors a glimpse of Antelope Island’s birds via horseback. The birds are less likely to spook at the appearance of horses, and the guides are all adept at helping attendees identify birds among the tall grasses.
Another field trip, with slots open all five days of the festival, focuses on a pontoon boat tour around Egg Island. There are both daytime and sunset versions of the trip, though because of visibility issues the evening tour focuses less on the island.
A complete list of field trips and prices, along with other Bird Festival events, is available online at greatsaltlakebirdfest.com. Event registration is also available at the same web site.