2 years ago, around this time, I spent a couple days with a family of Burrowing Owls and during that time, a couple of the Juveniles practiced their flying. Out of the shots for one of the days, this one became my favorite…
I love smooth flow of the wings as the juvenile caught itself when landing on the plant.
Here’s a look back…from June 2014. I went to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Northern Utah, looking for shorebirds. What I found at the end of the tour drive was this American Avocet at sunset, sitting on eggs on a nest. This image won in a local great salt lake bird contest in 2015. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that I photographed this scene. American Avocets are one of my favorite Shorebirds.
In 2015, my son and I went on an adventure to Bryce Canyon. We stayed at a hotel not too far from the entrance of the park, but spent most of our time hiking the trails. Bryce Canyon is beautiful red rock country, carved from limestone, dolomite, siltstone and mud-stone layers, that eroded away over millions of years. The view below is a panoramic image of Sunset Point.
Bryce Canyon is about a 4 hour drive, South of Salt Lake City and from Bryce Canyon, you can drive Highway 12, which offers views of Escalante and Kodachrome Basin State Park, as well as an Indian museum along the way. It makes for a good weekend getaway.
In February 2016, I photographed a beautiful Barn Owl that was hunting for mice and vole in the snow. It was difficult to get some in flight pictures, because the Owl had been flying further than my camera was able to capture. After waiting a good while, it finally perched on an electrical box and stayed long enough for me to capture a few images.
This image was fairly well received and I know it would have been a winner without the electrical box being used as a perch. So, while it’s not a winner, it is a keeper because it documents the environment that Owl’s can often be found. I didn’t learn till late last year, that Mother Nature Network had featured it on their website, talking about Rat Poison and it’s affects on animals higher up in the food chain. That article can be read, here.
If you’d like to see more Owl images, then head over to my Owl Gallery to see a variety of Owls photographed in Utah.
Back in December of 2012, while driving along the auto tour loop, at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, I saw something white dart across the dirt road. I slowly drove towards the spot I saw it and looked around. And, there it was. Standing up in the grass watching me in my vehicle. I took out my camera and lens, which back then, I was using a Canon 7D and the Tamron 70-300mm lens. I turned the car off and kept quiet, observing the Weasel as it darted back and forth between the grass. Eventually, it wandered out of a small clearing, close to the water, with a dead vole in it’s mouth.
I snapped off a few pictures and I guess the sound of the shutter scared the Weasel, so it took off to it’s hole in the ground. I have several other images of it, which can be seen in the Weasel Gallery . If you decide to take a look, the first 9 images are from that evening.
Last year in July 2016, I spent some time around the Promontory Mountains in Northern Utah. We were having an influx of Short Eared Owls during that time. They nested within the Sagebrush and grass. On one evening, while I was ready to drive home, I spotted this Juvenile Short Eared Owl, perched on the ground. I wasn’t sure if it was hurt or just hanging out; so, I hung out for a bit and photographed the Owl from my vehicle.
While photographing it, the Owl would hear the clicking of the shutter, then turn it’s head towards my direction and cock it to each side, which turned out to be quite humorous.
During this time, the wind had been blowing off and on, which would result in Owl’s tufts appearing like ears above it’s head. It was near dark when these were photographed, so I had to use ISO1000 and 1/80 shutter speed. Finally, when there wasn’t enough light to photograph it, I went on my way and the owl flew off. It was a wonderful experience to witness this Juvenile learning to be on it’s own.
Every Spring, the Long Billed Curlews can be heard across the valley of the Great Basin in Northern/Western Utah. If you can hear their calls, then they’re either flying over head or wandering around somewhere nearby.
I photographed this curlew during Golden Hour as this one and it’s mate were foraging for food in the grass. For a moment, it stood tall, before going back to hiding in the grass.
I haven’t been out to take pictures since last week due to a tooth infection that started last Friday and by Monday, I was at the dentist getting it pulled. It’s the day after and my face is miserable. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back out before vacation is over.
In May I took a few hour drive through Northern Utah and while driving on a dusty dirt road, I spotted this Burrowing Owl perched on a wooden stake. The light was quite harsh, but thankfully, the Owl was positioned just right to avoid the shadows.
You never know what you’re going to find when driving through the country side. While it may take a bit of time to get to where you’re going, the end result makes it worth it. Except for a car plastered in dead mosquitoes.