Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Western Wilderness Wonders

This past August, I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Tremonton, Utah. While he attended to business, I visited a couple of birding hotspots in the surrounding areas. My favorite location was Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse, Utah.  A wide variety of beautiful birds and wildlife were seen, as well as stunning scenery. I also drove through Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City, Utah. The bird numbers were impressive and the drive quite enjoyable.

After my husband concluded his obligations in Tremonton, we drove north and spent three days exploring two majestic and extraordinary national parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone. We meandered through stunning alpine meadows and breathed in the beauty of dramatic vertical peaks. Large herds of bison, elk and pronghorn were observed grazing in sagebrush dotted valleys. American Eagles and Osprey soared effortlessly aloft. At Yellowstone, we were mesmerized by the spectacular geothermal wonders and the radiant colors of the hot springs. A return trip will definitely be planned, as we wish we could have spent more time exploring these awe-inspiring destinations. All in all, I tallied 37 life birds!

A feisty Rufous Hummingbird perches near the wild bergamot (bee balm) patch - Life bird!

A handsome Peregrine Falcon scans the vast fields for prey

Two American Avocets feed in a shallow salt water pool

Long-legged beauty ~ Black-necked Stilt

A striking Western Grebe floats lazily on calm waters - Life bird!

Two juvenile Western Grebes enjoy the sunny day at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

A lone Ring-necked Pheasant steps gingerly across the road while I stop the car for its safe passage - Life bird!

A handsome Townsend's Warbler seeks nourishment in the berry laden-trees - Life bird!

Perched on a rocky peak and chattering away ~ Rock Wren - Life bird!

An adult Western Kingbird feeds its hungry offspring - Life bird!

 A second ravenous juvenile kingbird attempts to run interference

A young Mountain Bluebird perches on a dried branch - Life bird!

The always majestic American Bald Eagle

A relaxed Bison looks rather surprised when a bold Black-billed Magpie lands on its back