Monday, December 30, 2013

A walk in the desert

This time of year the desert is white, at least this year. Murph and I got some exercise west of the airport and had fun with a Rough-legged and a Raven.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Diana and I were enjoying a glass of champagne in the sunlight today when this hawk decided to use our Russian Olive tree as a lookout station. I think he/she is a adult sharp shinned hawk - will check with my local experts on it tomorrow. Beautiful and elegant - a presence that these raptors have that exudes from them as they enter your sphere.  Then Leo shows up - he is also beautiful and elegant in his own way.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Antelope Island in the haze

Murph and I toured Antelope Island today just to see what we would see and also to find out if there was a difference in the weather between SLC and the island.  There was.
But the haze persisted although at an apparent lower level. Fog, low hanging clouds and haze mixed things up and made for quite a monochromatic day of shooting. Despite that we had some good shots and you will enjoy them!

Hunters returning from their hunt pulling a sled full of equipment.

Clouds and fog and haze and sun.

The sun and clouds did some interesting plays together - and the purple shows up now instead of at dusk.

Blue and white

Murphy enjoyed himself very much and scruffed several times on the hard snow.

This fog/cloud ran from the top of the mountain down to the lake.

Mr. Coyote ambled across the road causing a backup of vehicles.

Best Buddies? Neither has anything to worry about from the other.


Wetlands are great places to see the endless displays of beauty that hoarfrost creates overnight! So many designs and so many different ways to capture the beauty. Here's a couple of examples from our  refuge visit.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hanging with the Hawk

Murph and I took advantage of the sun and minimal haze today and visited the refuge. Several herons hung out but today's feature was a rough-legged hawk.  He watched us park our truck, flew up to a closer tree when we got out, then played 'catch me if you can' as we hiked the dike. The great part was he was not spooked by Murph, and only slightly by me.
On our way back to the truck, he was showing off for a couple of camera folks, but then one person pulled up, opened her door and got out and let the door slam and away he went! Fortunately he was used to me by then so he flew in my direction very close by.  Ha!

The raptors are smart and have a lot to teach us if we are wiling to listen - they are also playful. Here's a couple of shots of the hawk and a couple of other features that interested me. By the way, the hoarfrost on the teasels and bulrushes is fantastic - worth a visit all for seeing that.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! I hope your Christmas is safe and loving!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The refuge in snow

Another refuge visit today and this time we saw a lot more activity. Harriers, eagles, kestrels and GBH's along with pheasant and what appears to be a lost American Avocet! A very gray day which makes it a bit difficult to obtain focus, but we managed.
I really love the drama of this type of landscape - very little detail and what there is shows against the white backdrop. Lots of opportunity for creativity.

Simple design highlights the barbed wire.

Beautiful Ring-necked Pheasant posed for a shot.

Not sure why this Avocet is still here - supposed to be down in South America now!

This Northern Harrier dove into this bush, I never could see what he was after. But he seemed to have a heck of a time getting back out!!

The solitary GBH - with the stream and the one fence pole for balance.

He looks cold, doesn't he?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Birthday to me!

67 years and still going strong! Well, still going anyway! A wonderful day capped off with a wonderful dinner at our favorite The New Yorker with our daughter and son-in-law. We got to admire Lisa's new wedding ring and just enjoy our time together.

Earlier Murphy and I had walked around the refuge Nature Center, a gray day with not much happening. But there is always something to see, and in this case it is the small marsh birds - not sure if this is a wren or not. They flit around hiding from you but just able to see you and barely be seen - cute and fun to be with. That plus the snow and the grasses - all made for very nice shots. They look quite similar, but in one the bird is more visible and the second is taken to accentuate the line of the snow which seems to disappear.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Back to the snow

Wow, the flight back yesterday was tiring, way too many people talking and kids being kids. Then when we got to the SLC Airport, it was a slushy mess, traffic jam of planes waiting for de-icing and to get away from their gates..and the inside of the airport was worse, with baggage and people everywhere! We were lucky to get home!
I shoveled this morning, our house-sitter had done an excellent job of shoveling so I could just go to bed last night. The sun came out and melted a lot of ice, reminding me of earlier years in SLC when this happened regularly - heavy snow and then melt.
While I miss the beach, the refuge and birds, and the warmth I am glad to be home and be with our animals, especially Fuzzy and Murphy. Here's a little view of what things looked like today out in the backyard.

Collared Dove sits by the feeders - he can't fit on either of them so mostly picks up the remnants that the littler birds spill.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sanibel Day 5 - a walk through Bailey's tract

After sunrise and breakfast, I took a walk through Bailey's Tract, a 100-acre part of the WMA. It contains some fresh water and has the possibility of seeing some wildlife - e.g., bobcats, raccoons, etc. There are alligator warning signs posted also.
No such luck, but lots of other beauty to see, a few of which are documented below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sanibel Day 4 Birds

Here's the bird photos I mentioned yesterday.

A double-breasted cormorant looking very elegant.

Brown pelican fishing in shallow water - looks like the old saying "Head over Teakettle".

He exits much more gracefully!

A Reddish Egret fishing - he 'dances' around the schools of fish and then creates shade with his wings which the fish will then swim into. Fascinating to watch.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron - elegant!

A juvenile Tri-colored Heron.

Roseate spoonbill fishing -


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sanibel Day 4

We - Diana, Meg and I - spent about 3 hours at the refuge this morning and came away with some astounding shots. But, there are other things here besides the wild birds and one of these is awesome sunsets. So tonight sunset photos are the focus - and we'll get back to birds later!
Enjoy and think - 70 degree weather and a soft breeze!!