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



Bob Pelkey said...

As I envision retirement, summer months each year will be spent in the west and northwest. Utah is definitely on the itinerary. A wonderful report, Julie.

eileeninmd said...

Awesome series of photos and birds. One of my favorite is the last shot of the bison and magpie..

TexWisGirl said...

so nice to see a post from you! these are all great shots and lots of variety of species i've not seen.

i ADORE the last 2 shots! :)

Ela said...

Wow ! What gorgeous birds and so lovely shots ! It's nice to see new places and new birds !

Herman versteeg said...

Wat een geweldige serie erg mooi.
groetjes Herman,

Marco Luijken said...

Hey Julie,
Great to see you again!! What a fantastic shots you've made during your trip.
Wonderful all diffderent birds. That hummingbird, Avocets and Eagle are so special to see. That must be nice to see in real.
The bison is very funny with his visitor.

Kind regards,

bas van Es said...

geweldig mooi en gevarieerd maar de laatste die is echt geweldig.

Larry Ostby said...

Oh my! Beautiful photos Julie. And congratulations on all your "Life Bird" captures. It's always great to see your work.

JRandSue said...

A big well done Julie on getting 37 Lifers,love your work.
All images look amazing,if I had to pick a winner,it would be your Grebe.

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Julie,
What a great chance for joining your husband and together visiting such great state parks!
Loved your unique photos and especially the very last one.

Noke said...

Tolle Bilder von den Tieren.


Ruth Hiebert said...

Oh wow! What an amazing set of gorgeous pictures!

Bob Bushell said...

Oh yes, that is the best I've seen. Well done Julie.

John's Island said...

Hi Julie, This is great to see find out that you have been in Yellowstone. It is one of my favorite places and an amazing source for photographers. Your photos of the bison and bird interaction are just great! Love your capture of the Mountain Bluebird too … one of my favorites. I hope you have more photos from your visit to share on a future post. I always look forward to your birding photos … they are absolutely some of the best on the internet. Thank you for several comments on my blog … so kind of you! Wishing you and your family the best. John

Angie S said...

Lovely bird photos Julie!

Bets said...

Hello Julie
What a very beautiful blog.
Greetings Bets

MoiCLouLou said...

Hi Julie, What a nice post! Beautiful birds and great shots! The hummingbird is just gorgeous... Love the Mountain Bluebird and the Rock Wren, wow!
The last picture is special and funny, I find. :)
Thanks for sharing these beauties.
Regards, Louise

Debbie said...

i am always so excited to see an update from the bird whisper. your images are crisp/clear and so exciting, each one better then the next!!!

i think the hummingbird was my favorite as i have never seen that breed, but wow, you really shared some awesome captures!!!

Daniel LaFrance said...

You must accompany your husband on more business trips!


Dan Gomola said...

Hello Julie. You created a beautiful blog once again. I'm especially partial to the bird portraits. I'm currently on a mission to photograph the two Kinglets that visit PA this time of year: Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned. Haven't seen any yet. I see your Golden-crowned on this page. Do the lesser seen Ruby-crowned visit

Weekend Cowgirl said...

Breath-taking photos!

Anonymous said...

Julie, these are stunning images and such a treat!

Chris Rohrer said...

You really nail those shots! The little birds are so hard to capture and yet you get them so crystal clear. My favorite is the Bison and Magpie. Really really cool!

Manuel Luis said...

Fantásticas estas imagens que me levam ao paraíso.
Obrigado pelo seu empenho e bom gosto, a natureza em primeiro plano.

Birder's Journey said...

Fabulous photos - I especially love the "Shoo!" shot at the end - what a great eye you have for the beauty in the moment!

Squirrel said...

The look on that Bison's face in the first photo just cracks me up! Great post!

NatureStop said...

Greetings from Dubai!Firstly I love your Header and what fantastic shots you got!! Really enjoyed going through your blog. Have a great week ahead! Will be back soon...


Sandi said...

Your photos are spectacular!

Linda said...

Gorgeous series of photos.

Ela said...

Merry Christmas !

Ela said...

Julie, I wish you a Happy New Year !

KaHolly said...

Oh, my goodness, what a delightful post. Where have I been?? I know I was busy finishing up important projects before my migration to TX! And, I know I've missed your posts. Happy New Year, Julie!!