Antelope Island Causeway from Google Street View
The Antelope Island Causeway is the lead in to Antelope Island State Park. The 6 mile causeway is lined by the Great Salt Lake. The first several miles in recent years have been dry on the south side, and dry and/or brackish water on the north side. After the first bridge shallow water and mudflats appear on both sides of the causeway, eventually the water reaches the shore of the causeway for the remainder of the road to the island. The 2nd bridge near the island had deeper water that flows rapidly from the south side into the north. Besides the the primary habitat mentioned above the road is lined with short grass and some shrubs including Rabbit Brush that provide additional habitat for some prairie birds.
The causeway is the go to spot for many birders week in and week out. It has produced every species of shorebird recorded in Utah at least once. The largest migrant flocks of WILSON'S PHALAROPE come through each July, numbering in the 100,000's. Smaller numbers of RED-NECKED PHALAROPE also move through in spring and fall. There are several records of RED PHALAROPE as well. Large numbers of peeps--mainly WESTERN SANDPIPER come through, mixing in lesser numbers of birds that would otherwise be rare in Utah, including: SEMIPALMATED, PECTORAL, and BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, RED KNOT, and SANDERLING. But those birds are jsut the tip of the iceberg. Almost annually other shorebirds are recorded here including: AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, WHIMBREL, and SEMIPALMATED PLOVER. This congregation of shorebirds leads to the real rare stuff, including: CURLEW SANDPIPER, RUFF, WANDERLING TATTLER, BUFF-BREASTED and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, and the states only SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER. The list goes on and on. But the spring and fall shorebird migration is augmented by the winter sea ducks that show up here. All 3 SCOTERS and LONG-TAILED DUCK are usually recorded yearly as well. Gulls are a sight here year round. During the breeding season 1,000's of California and FRANKLIN'S GULLS line the causeway. Each fall 100's and sometimes upwards of 1,000 BONAPARTE'S GULLS pass through. Along with these tiny gulls, the occasional SABINE'S GULL is found and there are several records of both LITTLE GULL and BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE. The causeway has also had several sighings of both PARASITIC and POMARINE JAEGER. The winter is also a good time to look for rare northern songbirds like SNOW BUNTING and LAPLAND LONGSPUR along the edges of the road. There was a one day wonder SNOWY OWL here on December 2, 2011--a bird many suspect should show up at this location more often. If you are going to be in Salt Lake City during the fall, winter, or spring, and have a day or even a half day, the causeway is the one place most birders would recommend you must visit.
In Layton, take I-15 exit 332 west bound onto Antelope Drive for about 7 miles to the entrance station to the park.
Labels: beach, causeway, Davis County, divers, Great Salt Lake, lake, mudflats, shorebirds, state park, waders, waterfowl
Post a Comment
Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]
<< Back to Previous