Monday, May 30, 2011

Colorful Birds returning

Friday was the last day of school and I have been birding every day since.  But some of the best birds are in my own back yard.  The birds are used to my blind and I am able to get close-ups of them from it.  Here is a male Black-headed grosbeak.  Ther are about 10 at my feeders.

One of the loudest and fun ones is the Bullock's oriole that loves suet.

One of my favorites is the Evening Grosbeak.  We find them in the area year around, but I only see them in the spring and summer.

Here a Lazuli Bunting gets harassed by the House finch and Pine Siskins.

Yellow-headed blackbird continue courting in the cattails.

Western Kingbirds have joined the Eastern Kingbirds as they harasse the hawks and pick up hatching insects.

A great way to spend a holiday weekend in the Wilds of Idaho without buying too much high priced gas.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Desert sunrise

Last Saturday while looking for raptor nests to document for the BLM, I experianced a lot of great moments.  This sunrise was one of them.

A great way to start a wild day in Idaho.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wildlife in the rain

For the last two days, rain has dominated the weather.  It is tough getting good pictures in the over-cast sky when the clouds are crying.  It almost makes me cry when I am trying to get some good pictures.

But across the desert and marshes I traveled.  First to the Sage Grouse lek where only the males showed up - females are nesting and males are staying available for a female that might lose its nest.

As I headed across the desert looking for new Sharp-tailed grouse leks, I found pockets of blooming Buttercups.

I also saw nine herds of elk moving from their wintering grounds to the areas for them to calve.  Many will return to Yellowstone Park about 80 miles away.

As my raptor nest study will begin next week, I started by trying to locate nests.  Three Swainson's Hawk nests were found.  But they have not started sitting on them.

Then today on the way home from Church, I watched the male Yellow-headed Blackbirds, staking out their territory and inviting the females to come to visit them.  There was a little flirting going on, but all the females have not yet returned.  Give them another week. 

Even the rain could not totally dampen the beauties in the Wilds of Idaho.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lobsters are for the birds

The Common Loons, all 22 of them were feasting on Rocky Mountain lobster - crayfish, crawdads, whatever you want to call them.  They were so fun to watch them with their lunch.  Common Loons are not so common here, but right now they are migrating through and they are a sight to see and their mournful cry that we usually only here in mountain lakes around Yellowstone Park.

Saturday was one of those birding days you dream about - start early, end late and during the middle of the day you mow the lawn with snow hiding under the bushes and trees.  Maybe not mowing the lawn with snow falling - but it needed to be done.  But the birding on both ends of the day was superb.  With 56 species indentified and some pictured for the first time.  But the day started out visiting the birds that got me into birding - the Greater Sage grouse.  These  eight pound birds trying to attract the ladies.  Here one puffs out his chest just as the sun came up.

One of the special birds was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet that I photographed for the first time.  What a beautiful bird that flitters through the willows, making it difficult for me to catch.

One of the spring birds I love to watch are the beautiful Eared Grebes.  There are about 30 on one pond where I have set up my blind. They are a lot of fun.

What a great day as I spent over eight hours out in the wilds of Idaho.