Thursday, February 25, 2010

Desert sunset - SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday evening as I was coming back from observing the Long-eared owls, the thin clouds created a beautiful sunset across the Big Desert west of Rexburg.  It was beautiful in my rear view mirror.

Earlier in the late afternoon, I caught this Long-eared owl coming into a tree to roost.

And then just as I was leaving the 11 Long-eared, I found this one hiding next to a tree trunk.

A great day to spend the evening celebrating another wild day in Idaho.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Long-eared owls

A week ago today I wanted to finish my Great Backyard Bird Count by finding some owls.  I found the Great Horned owls and then snowshoed another area just looking for something different.  As I walked into a grove of trees I noticed two eyes looking at me.

I did not recognized the owl and it got too dark for me to get a good look even though I flushed nine different owls.  Tuesday night and Friday evening I finally got some pictures and identified them as the Long-eared owls.  This was the first time that I was able to recognize them even though I have probably seen them before.  Here are two pictures of them flying around me.

After I counted 11 Long-eared owls and was leaving the grove of trees, I finally got a picture of one that clearly shows the long ears of this beautiful species.

A great way to close out another wild day in Idaho.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Rising sun-spike

With the cold mornings hovering around zero, the air is filled with ice crystals creating beautiful sun spikes.  These only last for about three or four minutes before they are gone.  The best ones are just as the sun breaks over the eastern Teton Mountains east of Rexburg.  Timing is critical to catch them at their peak.

Just the beginning of another wild day in Idaho.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

American Goldfinch - GBBC

I am right in the middle of the Great Backyard Bird Count.  Tomorrow I will spend most of the day photographing and observing birds - but if the weather is good and a little warm, I have promised a grand-daughter a fishing trip.

The last two days I have set up my blind in the backyard to take pictures out of.  The American Goldfinch can be difficult to get close to, but a blind usually solves the problem.

American Goldfinch are one of the few birds that molt most of their feathers twice each year.  Here is one that has started getting its summer plumage even though it is cold.

There is always a lot of fighting around the niger sack when they meet to feed.

Here some also battle the larger Housefinch over the sunflower seed feeder.

My favorite picture of the day is a goldfinch artistically leaving the feed sack in a style good enough for the Olympics.

Just another enjoyable wild day in Idaho.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Frosty sunrise

Tuesday morning as I headed to school, the sun was just rising and a bank of fog almost filtered out the sun.  This is one of my favorite sunrise pictures I have taken.  The colors were stunning.  Hope you enjoy it.

If you enlarge it, you can see the frost and the sliver of the Teton River reflecting the yellows of the sun.  Just the beginning of another wild day in Idaho.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Great Horned Owls - Market Lake

This evening I ran out to Market Lake Wildlife Management Area to see if I could find the Great-horned owls that usually nest there.  They were easy to find as the magpies were attacking them.  The pair were roosting on the same limb, but the male quickly attack only to pull up short, but came within a couple of feet of me.  He was not a happy camper.
Here is the male after the attack.  He would try to ignore me and then would fly away.-h

Here is the smaller female.  She never flew but watched me very closely.

Here she is as the sun was setting.


Here is a Rough-legged hawk that kept buzzing the male Great-horned owl.


Just the end of another wild day in Idaho.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Sunrise

This morning as I was getting the firewood for the day from the backyard, the sun was just below the skyline.  I quickly hurried back to the house to grab my camera only to be a little late for the most beautiful picture.  The sun was peeking over the horizon as I got this shot - not the best, but a great start of the day.

Later as I was coming home from school, I interrupted a kestrel snacking on a gopher.  As I stopped it flew off and I was able to get this beautiful picture of it flying off with its lunch.  It was overcast with a few snowflakes falling and did not make for a great background, but I was pleased with my luck.

Just the beginning and end of another wild day in Idaho.