Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Backyard fun...

Back to the backyard, birds are eating a lot this time of year. Now that the hummers are finished with their kids, they are enjoying the sweet stuff from early to late. Here's a couple of shots..

Grosbeak and house finch


Hummers at work or play




Monday, August 14, 2017

Elk Lake Lodge Day 4

Our last day at Elk Lake Lodge, we had a great sausage gravy and biscuits breakfast. The early morning was foggy which made for some really neat photos.
After breakfast we packed up, checked out and started home. Of course, the first 25 miles were through the refuge so we drove fairly slowly, often stopping to take photos. As was the case in Sept 2014 when I was up there, there were a lot of red-tailed hawks on the way out.  A pair of very cute fawns and their mom made us smile.  As did the Sandhill Cranes and the Antelope hanging out in the field.
We made it home about 5.5 hours later, not a bad drive on I-15 for most of the way.

Morning fog around the lodge and lake.





The Kingfisher was out hunting in the fog.


Quiet and ghostly, the pelicans slid by.


Mountain bluebirds are beautiful but so hard to photograph - always moving. Here's a couple that are relatively in focus.


The Sandhill Cranes and the Antelope were out eating in the field.



Trumpeter Swans on Upper Red Rock Lake - they 'trumpeted' while we were stopped, very unique sound.


Here's the fawns.


Redtails everywhere.


I wasn't sure what this was but my expert said it was a newly fledged red-tailed hawk.




Cowboys rounding up cattle. Much of the area around the WMA is private and cattle are everywhere.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Elk Lake Lodge Day 3

Day 3 dawned with no clouds and good sun so it was perfect for a trip down the road to the refuge. We had a very incredible day in the refuge with Cranes, Sage Grouse, Antelope, Swans, and scads of swallows on a fence! Hawks and eagles added their excitement along with the ubiquitous cows just outside the refuge limits.

I was so glad to see the sun that the next two photos are rejoicing in it!



How now, Brown Cow?


This Sandhill crane was one of two that were just 15 feet from the vehicle. We almost didn't see them - for a big bird they can blend in quite quickly and well.


Mr Antelope was confrontative but he stayed a distance away.


Redtail soaring over the forest with the mountain in the background.


Two sage grouse kids were watched over by Momma as they explored the road.



Redtail sitting in the sage - a fairly common sight here.


Followed by the bald eagle sitting in the same spot that I saw him three years ago!


Trumpeter swans - adults and kids.


Looking east toward Yellowstone which is on the other side of the cleft mountain.


Lots of bugs to feed all these swallows.


Here's a diagram of the Wildlife Refuge. We were staying on the far upper right on the squiggly blue lake. As you can see the refuge is BIG!


After dinner we drove up a road to see what we would see. Below is the end of Elk Lake - lily pads and rushes with color and form mixed up and beautiful.


Later I sat on the dock and got these shots of a kingfisher and the Osprey. I saw the Osprey in a tree and told it I would appreciate it coming closer for a photo op and sure enough, he did!




Elk Lake Lodge Day 2

The sky was hazy all the time we were there, from fires around the area. No smell of smoke, just the haze.
Day 2 we hiked a bit, took a short canoe ride - short due to the wind that came up quickly after we had gotten out on the lake - and rested well. Diana got a lot of reading in, much of it sitting on the front porch enjoying the quiet peacefulness of the place.

Here's a couple views of part of the lake and the lodge and cabins. In the top one you can see the haze in the sky obscuring the 10,000 foot mountain just on the other side of the valley.



I walked up the road you can see in the photo above to the right. There was a hill that I wanted to get on top of to see if I could see any Sandhill Cranes on the other side, since we kept hearing their calls from this area. I did not see any but the climb was worth it as I got to see another part of the lake (second picture down).
 Diana had a great book so she vicariously encouraged me.


This upper part of the lake is where we thought the cranes were, and they may have been there but I couldn't see or hear them when I got there. Beautiful.


On my way back to the cabin I caught this duck water-walking!


On the short canoe ride we saw the Kingfisher, group of Mallards and the GBH below.




Hanging out on the dock I enjoyed watching the various ducks do their things..






The entrance to the lodge and cabins. Just what you would expect in this country.


The haze cleared a bit by sunset so we had some enjoyable skies for a while.