Thursday, January 15, 2015

Beauty in a Frosty week

"What a dreary day," commented a person I was talking to.  With heavy fog and frost covering everything, from the inside of buildings it may look dark and dreary; but from the outside it is really alive and beautiful.  All wildlife needs to eat to survive as they do not have a fast food joint to stop by to pick something up.

This muskrat and several others were pulling water plants to fill its daily needs

Here a Sharp-shinned hawk wait patiently for a hapless bird to come along.

A natural flocked fir tree shows which direction the breeze is blowing as it stacks up the frost crystals on the needles and cones.

A beautiful Sharp-tailed grouse has been picking up gravel and grain from the side of plowed roads but runs to safety in a snow covered field.

A Red-shafted Northern flicker appears to be shivering in a tree where a breezy has removed most of the frost.

A beautiful Long-eared owl looks through a frost-laden tree waiting for darkness to gather its supper. 

An Evening Grosbeak brings a lot of color to my backyard as he comes in to feed on the sunflower seeds.

And this pheasant hen is far from where she should be.  She and her friend, another hen, were found roaming the banks of the Henrys Fork of the Snake River between St. Anthony and Ashton.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," and sometimes you must leave the confines of buildings to see it.  Just a couple of days in the wilds of Idaho during a "dark and dreary" week.  Thanks, God, for sending all this beauty for us to enjoy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Belted Kingfisher in action

Had some great days this week watching and photographing wildlife throughout Southeastern Idaho.  On Thursday I decided to target some Belted kingfishers that I had observed two days in a row, so I set up near one of their favorite perching spots.  It was an old cement pillar to hold an irrigation pipe.  I wasn't long before one showed up.
It finally located a food item near the edge of the water.

As it emerged out of the water, I noticed it had a successful dive.

It looked like a stonefly nymph as it twisted and turned it around looking for the best way to eat it.
Several times it tossed the victim in the air, catching it each time.

After it swallowed the crunchy water bug, it found another perch.

Then it finally decided to cool its feet before flying off to the Henrys Fork of the Snake River to probably look for something slimy that would slide down a little easier. 

Just part of another wild day in Idaho looking for more wildness.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter bathing for the birds

Yesterday was a warm day after a week of bitter cold with temperatures in the 40's - a change of 60 degrees from the previous week.  The birds took advantage of the warmth to bathe and enjoy the partial sun of the day.

Along the Henrys Fork of the Snake River, I caught this Bald eagle drying off its wings after bathing along the edge of the river.  It held its wings in this position for about 30 minutes.
A couple miles farther up the river I found this American robin bathing along the ice.  There were a flock of about 100 of them enjoying the warmth of the day.

It appeared to be a little crazy, but it probably needed the bath.

This Steller's Jay is beating its wings to shake the excess water off.  Sometimes I wish I had videos of wildlife as they go through the acts that are natural to them.

I almost missed this shot as this Belted Kingfisher dove for a minnow.  It was unsuccessful and flew off to dry on a willow limb.

And as I was headed home, the distant Teton Peaks were shrouded in the blankets of clouds - they themselves trying to keep warm in the bitter cold air that surrounded them.

Just another day in the wilds of Idaho - and the Tetons in Wyoming, but viewed from Idaho.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mule deer and Turkeys - Happy New Year

At a minus 15 degrees this New Years morning, it took me a little while to get rolling this morning.  But once it got above zero I was on my way to the wilds of Idaho.  After searching about 500 horned larks I finally found a Snow bunting, but it was shy and I did not get a good picture of it.  But in a draw I found nine mule deer with these two small bucks.

Then this Ring-necked pheasant was sitting in the sun with its feathers fluffed up, trying to keep warm.

This was a very interesting experience as 33 wild turkeys were moving from one feeding area to another one.  All the hens and young ones started working toward me so I waited and waited.

Soon the lead hen worked right next to me and was picking grass stems.

The four toms that followed about 200 yards behind the flock finally made it to me and began feeding on rose hips and dried leaves and buds.

Three of the toms had long beards that touched the snow when they were in the deep snow.

On the way home I saw this Trumpeter swan that had flown into a power line and broke its neck.  A home owner in the area said that 12 had been killed since Christmas along the Texas Slough since the cold weather had hit.

A bitter cold day enjoyed in the wilds of Idaho to celebrate the New Year.