VERNAL — Bird-watching enthusiasts can participate in the Division of Wildlife Resources' annual Steinaker Loon Watch on April 5.
The free wildlife viewing event runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Steinaker State Park. The park, which includes Steinaker Reservoir, is off U.S. 191, about 5 miles north of Vernal.
Ron Stewart, the DWR conservation outreach manager who started the event, said more than 200 loons have been seen on different reservoirs in the basin on a single day. Steinaker Reservoir seems to be a hotspot, with more than 60 loons spotted on it at the same time, he said.
"Hopefully they'll be there this year for our Loon Watch," Stewart said.
Named for their awkwardness when walking, loons are skilled swimmers. They are at home on or under the water. They use land only during their nesting season.
There are five loon species. The second largest, the common loon, migrates through Utah on its way north in the spring and on its way back to coastal destinations in the fall.
Each spring, common loons travel to the remote, freshwater lakes and ponds in the far northern states and Canada. There, loons breed and spend the summer raising their young.
For more information about the Loon Watch, call the DWR's Northeastern Region office at 435-781-9453.