Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Last Day at the refuge!

Feb 28 is the last day at the refuge to be able to drive the entire dike until the end of September. It's kept that way to permit the waterfowl to rest and raise their kids without humans putting much stress on them. So I went out for a couple of hours this morning!
I was greeted by a Kestrel at the entry gate and from there on things just kept getting better.  Tundra Swans, Sandhill Cranes, Pelicans, Ring-necked Pheasant, Rough-legged Hawk, Great Blue Herons and lots of unidentified flying ducks. Here's what I kept from today..

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Staying safe!

When you feed birds you get the raptors feeding on the birds that you feed. The small birds disappear as fast as they can. Larger birds, such as this female Downy Woodpecker and the Northern Flicker, stay safe through motionlessness.
Both of theses birds sat so still for at least 3 minutes - not one movement.  Then suddenly off they went! Fascinating, isn't it?
Also, note the size difference between the two. Flickers are BIG birds.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

White refuge day!

Kurt and I visited the refuge today under low clouds that were quite white. Very hard to capture auto focus on birds, especially the white (pelicans and tundra swans) and grey (sandhill cranes and northern harriers). Nevertheless we persisted and enjoyed the visit immensely.  Any time you can have Sandhill cranes and Tundra swans flying over you is a good time.
The DNR was cleaning out the elevated birds nests and putting in new hay. The airboats they were working from got the swans flying as well as a number of GBH's. A couple of kestrels added to the day and a juvenile red-tailed hawk chasing an older red-tailed hawk was the final picture as we left.

Sandhill Crane - flew by making his gurgling sound.

Posing for the shot.

Grey ghost Harrier came back for his photo op!

Pelicans down the stream.

Tundra swans in the distance.

Pelicans made us smile.

Juvy redtail beginning his dive on the adult that is in a tree.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Molly's eyeball, immature Black-crowned Night Heron and Starlings. Beauty to enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Reminders of spring

Colder and snowy weather today and for the next couple of days. We sure enjoyed the February warmth knowing that more cold weather was coming.
Here's some tulips to help keep the glow going!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Windy Refuge

Big wind at the refuge today so the birds were hunkering down for the most part. Of course, some will always fly - harriers, geese, seagulls, etc.. Plus some ducks and a cormorant!
The water is very low in the large areas and very muddy, guessing the DNR is keeping it low to allow more room for the inevitable deluge from melting snow.

Don't know what got her going but she is talking at him!

Looks like a juvenile Double-crested Cormorant.

Wigeons in flight.

Cormorant again.

Harrier hunting - but not Canadian Geese.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Backyard beauty again!

Sit still around our backyard long enough and bingo - there will be a beauty to photograph. This time it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk looking for food. He turned around twice for me - once on the feeder and once on the fence - as if to say - "Get my good side!!"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cloudy refuge day.

Lots of clouds and not a lot of great light at midday today at the wildlife refuge. Not much raptor activity - a couple of Kestrels, a couple of Harriers, a Red-tailed Hawk and a Bald Eagle. Non-raptors - 9 GBH's out fishing in a line, a group of Tundra Swans, the ubiquitous Coots and Pied Bill Grebes. But above all  - Canadien Geese everywhere. Tis the mating season for them and they cover most of the land out there.
A few shots from today.


Geese over Antelope Island

Female Harrier off to eat her catch.

Lone Eagle just hanging out.

Classic Harrier hunting posture.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This cute warbler has been coming to our feeders for about a month now, so we've set up some special feeding things for he and his friends. Today he came and showed us why he is named what he is!

This stick feeder is made for woodpeckers so I had to add the screws to give the warblers a place to sit while eating.

Eyes bigger than his mouth!

Tell-tale markings!

Memories from Boulder

Last June we spent a few days in Boulder, Utah, at Boulder Mountain Lodge. The Ruddy Duck was still in breeding plumage and the Canada geese were taking care of their young - very watchful eyes! Cactus flowers were out and being busily fertilized by bees and ants.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Backyard Beauty

Birds are in my life everywhere - and this Flicker came by to pose for us in our backyard. A great support for my thesis that beauty is everywhere.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunny day trip to Skull Valley

I took a long ride out to Skull Valley today hoping to see what I could see - and I did! :-)

A Golden Eagle, a Bald Eagle, two male Harriers, and two Rough-legged Hawks were pretty much it in the raptor group. Beautiful sunny sky, some low clouds by the mountains and lots of water in the desert.
Here's a few shots.

Looking towards Dugway from Terra just as you come out of Johnsons Pass.

Rough-legged Hawk posing for photos.

Golden Eagle - He patiently turned around the other way and then flew off!

Bald Eagle was sitting on a fence post - none of the other posts had white on top so I stopped and sure enough it was he!

The "Grey Ghost" - my name for the male Northern Harrier.

Water flow from one side of Horseshoe Springs - no wading birds yet.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Having Fun!

The refuge - like much of life - is full of unexpecteds if you are open to seeing them. Here's a couple of examples for me.

I first took the photo of the heron in the field thinking it was by itself. Then I saw the other two in the first set of bulrushes. After I loaded the photo into the computer I saw the other three sitting farther back! Love it.

Here you have to anticipate what might happen and be ready. These three floated in on the wind and I panned with my camera to catch them as they landed. They do goofy-looking things sometimes.