Sunday, April 4, 2010

Snow, Snow, snow

Three days of snow slowed the birding during my Spring break, but did not stop it.  I encountered some old and new birds.

Between snow storms I located the Long-eared owl nest without disturbing the female.


While the male circled and kept an eye on me.



The snow started to fall on Thursday after I left the owls and the sandhill cranes, teal and coots did not seem to mind.







But then on Friday, the ground was covered and I slipped out at 5 a.m. to see if I could find my first Sage grouse of the season.  I found them on a lek, but only seven males and no females showed up.  I was able to get a few pictures, but they did not stay long as they preferred the sage rather than the bare snow covered breeding ground with no breeding to be done.

                                      

With snow showers and wind up to 40 mph, the ice on Mud Lake started to break up exposing winter-killed fish.  On the edge of the ice 54 eagles, mostly immature Balds, gathered to feed.  That evening, I hid in some large cottonwood trees and photographed the eagles coming into roost.  The grey skies did not make for great shots, but it was exciting to watch these birds fight the wind to find their roost for the night.

                                     

Even in the snow, it was a great way to spend two days in the wildness of Idaho.  Happy Easter.

19 comments:

Regina said...

Wow those are amazing!
Beautiful captures Bill.

Thank you for sharing.
A Blessed and a Wonderful Easter to you and to your family.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Bill, Do you use a 'blind' while you are waiting to see certain birds? You certainly did capture some great ones... I especially love that Sage Grouse... What a gorgeous bird! Hope you get more pictures of them...


Happy Easter.
Betsy

mountain.mama said...

I admire your fortitude in getting out there to capture those amazing bird shots! Well done.

Leenie said...

That was one heck of a weekend for winter-in-the-spring weather. Good on you for hunkering down in the middle of it to get those great bird photos! Hope you had something to keep the fingers and toes warm.

me ann my camera said...

The photo of the Sandhill Crsnes in the brrr... snow is msgnificent! Spring is happening fast in our area with newly returned species sightings being reported daily. Today we discovered that the Osprey hsve returned to our river. I sm seeing a lot of butterflies but csnnot msnsge a good photo of most. Also, my daily search for returning duks continues. What a wonferfy\yul vsriety of birds you see in your area. An owl! wow! I never see owls. Happy Easter weekend. Ann

Chris said...

Wow these are beautiful pictures, and I love the ones with the snow flakes a lot. They are wonderful... The one of the Sage grouse is my favorite I think... It is a perfect shot!

Anonymous said...

That's how you tell a true birder! Out in all weather and getting amazing pictures.

We went to the Burns OR bird festival one year and got to see sage grouse mating dance; a highlight of birding for sure. I can't imagine how great it would be to get to see them on your own -- so to speak -- without a tour guide.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That was me anonymously posting -- I hit send too soon. (Too much ham dinner -- groggy ;>)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnny Nutcase said...

i adore your sage grouse and sandhill photos in this post - excellent!! how lucky you are that you have sage grouses so close by. My husband and I saw them for the first time in southeastern OR a couple years ago and were really excited, and they didn't even display. Great photos, Bill!

http://ontfin.com/ said...

Great shot of the Sage Grouse, a bird I've high on my to see list.

Deb said...

I often forget that just because we experience warm, sunny weather, others are still dealing with old man winter!
Beautiful photos of nature, Bill.

Monts said...

Superb images Bill under the most extreme conditions, and the results shows that its worth it. Thanks for putting in the effort and sharing.

Kcalpesh said...

Great captures Bill! Amazing shots!

Pixellicious Photos

CherryPie said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment :-)

Lovely shots especially the owls which I am a big fan of.

Sunny said...

All fantastic pictures but the one of the sandhill cranes is awesome. I really appreciate that you share these wonderful birds with us.
Sunny :)

Jann said...

Fabulous photos Bill! Love the sandhill duo, and the owls...am so jealous, haven't hardly seen let alone photographed any owls...mostly I startle them out of hiding, they likewise startle me and are off before I recover to take shots.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh Bill, these are all quite delightful and wonderful and those Sandhill Cranes in the snow are absolutely the greatest image!!! They need to be framed with your Cyote snow images, what WOW moments you captured~

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Bill: Wonderful photos of the area in the snow.