Thursday, February 27, 2014


Altho I can probably be called a birdhead 'cause I enjoy watching and photographing birds so much, I also enjoy the rest of the environment - animal tracks and nests, etc.  Here's a couple of birds and some other stuff from the sunny day...

4-legged predator - Raccoon tracks

The White Pelican with a Killdeer shadowing it.

Juvenile Northern Harrier

Looks like a nest - not sure what bird tho.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring coming to the refuge

Today was a sunny day at the refuge with lots of activity if one was patient! Great Blue Herons, White Pelicans, Killdeer, Red-winged Blackbirds, Great Horned Owls - along with the ubiquitous and noisy Canada Geese, Kestrels, gulls of various kinds and dueling Harriers!  In a bit of a departure from my normal there is also a capture of spiders!
I realize every time we go to the refuge that we get to see what we get to see - and are alert enough to see. The pelicans flew right at us as we were watching a GBH catch fish (what kind of bait does he use?). The killdeer flew overhead insisting on my attention - once I had a couple of photos they landed and ran around on the ground. Life moves at its own pace out there, sometimes fast - sometimes slow.
Welcome to my world!

The ice has melted on the pond just inside the gate and the GBH has come back!

Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie ....... These guys and gals welcome you all along the dike.

Juveniles playing or territorial dispute?  They had a good go at each other!

"Look at me" could have been the song they were singing - cause they landed after I took their photo.

When you are moving slowly even a spider can be your subject!

light over the Oquirrh's.

He/she caught two fish while we watched. Elegance in motion!

Here's the Great Horned pair - Mom on the nest and Dad standing guard.


Doesn't that remind you of a James Bond film name? The Goldeneye's are so very beautiful in the spring, resplendent in their breeding plumage. The golden eye can be seen at quite a distance when the light is right.
Here's a fun one that prepared to pose for me but then decided he wanted out.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A couple of stories

A few days back I posted the photo of the owl in the trees - it is a Great Horned Owl - and I mentioned in the post it being a master of disguise.  So here is the original photo, look and see if you can find the owl in it!

Friday I spent some time with my friend Carmen who is quite a talker when she gets going. Anyway, she was telling me about seeing the white fur on Bonnie's "heinie" when Bonnie (a Corgi) jumped up on the couch. Well, I haven't heard the word heinie in a long time and never from a 5 year old so it perked me up.
Later that day I was driving out west of the airport and got a photo of a Rough-legged Hawk's white heinie as he took off from a light pole. Though it might perk you up for a Monday :-)....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Other views

As always, there are many things to see at the refuge if you are willing to look. Here's a few of them from the other day.

The intense hawk floats off to find its prey:

Coots in formation running across the water.

Seagull landing. Seagulls are great for practicing panning and in-flight shooting.

Murph listening and watching the rather raucous Canada Geese out in the field.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Can't you just feel the intensity in this hawk's stare? He/she was looking for prey, never mind me, and it feels like every part of her body is focussed on what she is looking at!

Then the owl - master of hiding in broad daylight - wow it was hard to see him and to photograph him. I believe it is a Great Horned Owl but am checking with an expert.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Backyard Surprise!

I was making a cup of coffee in the kitchen this afternoon just after the snow stopped falling and looked out the window - WOW, a Cooper's Hawk walking around on the ground!
He seemed to be looking for something under the boxwoods but he didn't stay long. What a beautiful surprise!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beauty to just soak into you!

Surprises abound!

When MJ and I were out on the dike at the refuge a few days ago, I went to sit down to get a better shot of an eagle on the ice. Well, the eagle decided to leave before I was ready, but as I turned to get up I found this skull.
Not sure about what animal it might be - fairly small (see quarter for comparison) - plus the interesting orange tooth sticking out. Any ideas? And no, it is not a Starwars Trooper! UPDATE: A young (< 6 months old) muskrat is the positive id.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Joy in the refuge!

I don't know another way to share with you the joy and beauty that I experience being in nature and being a part of the wildlife's world just for a few moments, than to share my photos with you.
Today ended being sunny and beautiful and Murph and I went out to the refuge about 3pm.  Lots of people out there, but - as you will see - no negative effects on what I was able to see.
I've slowed down and spend more time watching the wildlife to see what it is doing and will do (retirement gives you that option). Amazing what just standing in one place long enough will show you - the cycle of life flows constantly.

The cycle of life continues - male and female Canada geese will begin a new family soon.

The Kingfisher needs a hair brush!

The Pied Bill Grebe taking a minnow to his/her family.

Bald eagles checked us out, catching fish, dropping it and then coming back for it. Beautiful and elegant birds.

When you are a young eagle you have things to learn - like how to land gracefully!

A sunset is not complete without a Ring-Necked pheasant to show off the color!

Blackbirds are out and singing - and not too skittish now.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Invasion of the Berry Snatchers!

We had another invasion of the Cedar Waxwings and their partners the Robins earlier this week. They are in almost constant motion, eating the berries from the Washington Hawthorne and contorting themselves in whatever way it takes to get the berry. I got a couple of fun photos of them in action - enjoy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

R.I.P. Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnel creator

I had the good fortune of meeting Nancy Holt at an event that the UMFA held in her honor last year. Intriguingly, I had not heard of her before or her Sun Tunnels, yet I felt an immediate connection to her and her work.  Perhaps because she seemed to have a disdain for the traditions is why I felt connected.
She and her entourage visited the Sun Tunnels towards sunset and Murph and I were out there much earlier to see and learn about them.  No experience compares to being in the emptiness  of the West Desert with no one else around. Words cannot describe it. To think of the vision she had as she constructed these tunnels out in the middle of nowhere boggles my mind.
Nancy Holt died yesterday at the age of 75 - here are a few of my favorite shots from the time out in the desert. Here's a link to the article -.

Nancy is the lady in the black vest and the aqua hat.