Explore Utah: Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area

UTAH — There are many areas across the state that give insight into what Utah is all about. Branching out within a couple of hours from Park City offers everything from wetlands, deserts, slot canyons, high alpine forests, and more. So while much of Utah is still buried under a mountain’s worth of snow, there are still many accessible areas to explore.

The Great Salt Lake has multiple areas open to the public with varying characteristics that create different habitats for wildlife. The lake is a vital part of the migratory bird populations that transition through the state. Visiting places such as the Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area at different times of the year will allow for different species to be seen. The area is a favorite among birders and nature photographers alike, and it is common to see visitors driving around with large lenses poking out the window to take pictures.

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Farmington Bay has multiple entry points to be explored. A favorite is the Farmington Bay Trailhead, located next to Bountiful Lake. The area offers the chance to see osprey, American coots, great blue herons, northern shovelers, and many other species both at the lake and on the paths along. This area does close for part of the year to protect the nesting season of many species.

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Another entry point in the area is near the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Wildlife Education Center, which has two areas, with one being on 1325 West, and the other on South Waterfowl Way. These are hotspots for wildlife photographers who can visit the area rather easily, only a short drive from Salt Lake City and under an hour from Park City. While waterfowl are the most common finds, bald eagles, turtles, and other wildlife are not uncommon. The area is also home to several nesting platforms for great blue herons.

A red-winged blackbird at Farmington Bay.
A red-winged blackbird at Farmington Bay. Photo TownLift // Kevin Cody

Identifying birds can be difficult, with some being harder than others, but there are many helpful tools that make the process significantly easier. Arguably the best is the All About Birds website created by The Cornell Lab. Birds can be searched by shape or family in addition to many guides that will help in the process. One helpful resource on the site used for this story was Birds of Prey. Many hawks, falcons, and so forth are hard to distinguish between, making the subtle descriptions on the site very useful.

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