We only spent about an hour there and scanned the river from three different locations: near the landfill (no we didn't actually study gulls there as the landfill material apparently isn't as 'scrumptious' as the fare at those bigger-city dumps ;-), at the cemetary (where we also looked/listened w/o success for Juniper Titmouse - now Heidi's all geeked about finding them!), and just below the dam. There were TONS of birds at this always-very-productive spot, including over 2500 gulls (mostly Ring-bills but a smattering of Californias plus a few Herring and 2+ Thayer's was all we could muster) and many waterfowl. We also enjoyed our first Tree Swallows of the year and Heidi was able to study Violet-green vs. Tree in side-by-side fashion! Other highlights here were some pelicans and a few RB Mergansers among the many other waterfowl.
After our stop at American Falls, we headed for Pocatello where a local bird nerd, Chuck Trost, had told us about a Northern Mockingbird that had been hanging around there (& Louie & Ileana had found the day before). After less than a minute of getting out of the car and walking along a hedgerow, we spotted him! He was easy to find, even for me, with those flashy black and white wings and tail. He gave us some good looks, but then headed deep into the bushes when we tried to take a photo of him. Heidi lifer #1 for this trip!
Even though it was pretty windy, and getting windier, we decided to at least try to visit Market Lake to look for the Short-eared Owls. It was about 3 o’clock by this time, so we didn’t have very high expectations of seeing any owls. Just after getting to the marshy area, though, we spotted a bird soaring above the marshy areas. A Short-eared Owl! He flew around, and then landed on a nearby fence post to look around, where we were able to watch him for a while before he swooped down into the cattails. Lifer #3 (again, in less than 2 min!! I mean, seriously, who does that? ... and on 3 straight target birds in 1 day!). We took some time to walk one of the windrows in the area and (along with some moose poo) found a flock of waxwings, including 5 Bohemians! Those guys are always fun to see :)