Saturday, December 28, 2013

Yellowstone in Winter - 2013

This week my family did our annual (second) winter Yellowstone National Park trip. Just one day over and one day back again this year although we said that we would like to make it a bit longer next year for the second year in a row. One of my goals for the trip was to spend some time trying to get photos of American Dippers along the Lamar River. I tried last year but wasn't happy with the results so I modified my approach and tried again this year. I am not completely satisfied with the results this time either, but they are better than last year. Maybe I will have it figured out in time for the next trip.

I only got to spend a short amount of time with this particular bird. It was fun watching him jump off the ice and disappear into the moving water and a short while later leap out of the water with what appeared to be small green caddisfly larvae pulled from their sandy cases. They were eaten quickly and the bird returned to the ice edge for another round of foraging.

This stretch of the Lamar River has a pretty high density of American Dippers and they appear to each occupy about a 10 meter portion of open water. There was also a small flock of Barrow's Goldeneyes near where I was, but I didn't get a chance to get any photos of them. Next year!

I did find time to take a few shots of this Bighorn ram too. He must have been pretty active earlier this fall - both sides of his horns were broomed pretty good.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Present

This morning on my walk along the river I found this nice little Christmas present. The last two years I have been fortunate to find a brood of these Eastern Screech-Owls in this area, but I haven't been able to find one outside of that. My lack of success in locating one of these birds isn't for the lack of trying. Every walk I look at the broken tree tops and check out cavities without ever finding an owl. This morning it paid off though. Sitting on a broken tree top that I have looked at a number of times was this little guy soaking up the morning sun.