Oklahoma Raptors

Red Tailed Hawk, Cameron, OK; DEC 2018

We made a visit to rural southeastern Oklahoma recently. While there, I was amazed at the number of red tailed hawks I saw. Much of the countryside was pastureland and I imagine it provided a lot of good food for the rodents and, in turn, the hawks. One day, I also saw a bald eagle in the grass, alongside the road.

Bald Eagle, Cameron, OK; DEC 2018
Red Tailed Hawk, Cameron, OK; DEC 2018

Note: These and other images are available to purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

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Birds Around A Local Pond

I regularly take long walks at different sections of the American River Parkway between Folsom and Fair Oaks. At one spot, along Lake Notomas, there is a small pond tucked back but alongside the bike trail. I never know what I am going to find. Last week, I was treated to what is a rare site to me – some hooded mergansers. Their cousins, the common mergansers, stick around all year. I often see belted kingfishers and acorn woodpeckers in that area also.

Acorn Woodpeckers are ubiquitous in this area. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, their behavior is different from most other woodpeckers. They find acorns and pound them into holes in dead trees. When they can’t find a hole, they make one. Later, they come back and eat them – if the squirrels and other wildlife don’t get them first.

Regards,

Larry

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution

Note: These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

 

Autumn In The Eastern Sierra

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, along route 395 from the junction of Rt 89 to Bishop, CA. Generally, we wanted to enjoy the autumn foliage. But we also wanted to explore Buttermilk County, the area along Buttermilk Road near Bishop. We did all of that and managed to include a drive into McGee Creek Canyon. The rabbitbrush was in bloom. Aspens and other trees were displaying the finest golds and oranges. It was a wonderful trip into the mountains.

Note: Please click on see images at higher resolution.

These and other images are available to purchase on my website www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Some Wildlife from Recent Trips

Here is a few shots of some wildlife we saw travelling through various places. The locations are listed with each image.

We hadn’t seen any bears in the wild for several years. Then, on one trip, we saw 2. Unfortunately, the one that got away, was a cinnamon colored one. Maybe someday I’ll be able to photograph one of those.

The tufa in Mono Lake are beautiful themselves but we got a rare treat – an osprey on its nest on top of a tufa.

Note: Click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

 

Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring is another of Yellowstone’s iconic hydrothermal features. It is the one that looks like a big orange and blue eye. The spring sits along the Firehole River in the general area of the Upper Geyser Basin where Old Faithful resides. It produces a constant flow of water that flows into and heats the Firehole River. To me, the Firehole River is the most fascinating of Yellowstone’s rivers. It flows from Madison Lake, on the continental divide, 21 miles to the Gibbon River at Madison Junction. What fascinates me, is that it travels through the Upper Geyser Basin, where Old Faithful is located, and past the Grand Prismatic Spring. Those and other hydrothermal features dump their water into the Firehole. This raises the temperature 9-18 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pool filled by the Grand Prismatic Spring is very shallow. It is colored by the brown. orange and yellow bacteria and algae that grow in its pool. The sun highlights its colored features and the water reflects the blue of the sky. Steam rising from the spring adds mystery to the landscape. Though you can appreciate the spring by just giving it a cursory walk-by, paying attention to the details and seeing how the light seems to make them change provides a breathtaking experience.

Here is a link to an image that shows the spring in totality: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/grand-prismatic-spring-close-up-royalty-free-image/136952950; I don’t have one of my own to share.

Note: Click on caption to see higher resolution image.

Note: These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon, in Utah, is stunningly beautiful; especially at sunrise and sunset. It should be on your bucket list. You can enjoy it any time of day but, I recommend being there in the morning, before the sun creeps over the distant mountains and as the sun sets in the evening. The colors saturate, the whites appear almost translucent at hose times and it will take your breath away. If you can, walk the trails that take you below the base and look at the hoodoos face on.

As I looked over the landscape, my thoughts turned to the ancient cities from fantasy and action adventures. Perhaps drawing from Petra in southern Jordan. I can imagine temples and palaces constructed from the hoodoos. I see “impregnable” walls being breached by the barbarians outside. It’s a fun connection.

For me, the process of how the land became to look as it does, enhances its beauty. In this case, water channels away the softer soil, forming the hoodoos. The freeze-thaw cycle sculpts the hoodoos by breaking off chunks. The wind helps sculpt too, but, to a lesser degree. What is left are acres of an orange and cream landscape filled with spectacular hoodoos and the erosional hills and valleys at their base.

I can’t wait to go back. Only this time, I am going to allow a day to hike and see what other treasures I uncover. I wonder what it would like in snow.

Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution images.

These and other images are available to purchase at my website www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Yellowstone Wildlife

Yellowstone is known as much for its wildlife as its great geologic features. North America’s apex predators, the wolf, grizzly bear and the mountain lion all roam Yellowstone’s wild lands along side the bison, elk, moose, deer and other prey species. Sadly, many of the species we had hoped to see didn’t show and a few were too far away to get a good picture. But we did see some and what we saw was amazing.

In this post, you’ll see the pica, a relative of the rabbit that lives in higher altitude rock fields. You’ll see the pronghorn which is related to but is not an antelope and the mountain goat which is not a goat but, an antelope. Finally, the American Dipper; the only North American song bird that feeds underwater in stream beds.

The Swainson’s hawks we taken not far outside of Idaho Falls, ID on the last leg of our journey to Yellowstone.

I hope you enjoy these images.

Regards,

Larry

Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution image.

 

Note: These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.