Posts Tagged ‘Birding’

Mud Lake

Mud Lake is a town, a wildlife management area, and a lake in eastern Idaho. The lake is fairly large, shallow, muddy, and full of bugs and birds. It is a place I visit frequently to look at birds and to make photographs. Here are a few recent photographs from a couple of excursions.

 

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Mud Lake(from West Dike), ID 2015

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Midge Swarm at Mud Lake, ID 2015

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Western Grebe Pair, Mud Lake, ID 2015

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Magpie Nest, Mud Lake, ID 2015

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Camas Creek at Mud Lake, ID 2015

 

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Grand Isle, Louisiana

Grand Isle, Louisiana is a small island in SE Louisiana. It is primarily a fishing destination. It is also a place where locals own or rent vacation homes. It is one of the few accessible beaches in Louisiana. It is also an excellent birding destination. Grand Isle combines open ocean, sandy beaches, marsh, and coastal woodlots. This mix of habitats attracts a large number of birds to Grand Isle, particularly during spring and fall migration. Below are a few photographs made of the beach and woods on the island.

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Rain Puddle (during a rainstorm) Sureway Woods, Grand Isle, LA 2015

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Live Oaks and Rain Puddle, Grand Isle, LA 2015

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Live Oak (detail), Grand Isle, LA 2015

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Gulf of Mexico from Grand Isle, LA 2015

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Peveto Woods Sanctuary

Peveto Woods is a small bird sanctuary located in SW Louisiana in Cameron Parish. It is a chenier (slightly elevated oak woods on the gulf coast) forest. When conditions are favorable (north winds, rain etc.) migrant songbirds crossing the Gulf of Mexico will land in the first trees they see. This small group of trees can be teeming with migrants during an event birders call a fallout, or (like on the day we visited) they can be essentially vacant of birds. Either way, these coastal woodlots are an important habitat and there are few accessible chenier woods left that birders can enjoy. Many have been developed, are in the hands of private landowners, or are inaccessible due to their location (surrounded by impenetrable marsh). Places like Peveto Woods, High Island (Texas), and Dauphin Island (Alabama) are critical to the survival of migratory songbirds and are national treasures.

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Sunrise at Little Florida Beach, Cameron Parish, LA 2015

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Mostly Dead Live Oaks, Peveto Woods, LA 2015

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Backlit Oaks at Sunrise, Peveto Woods, LA 2015

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Peveto Woods, LA 2015

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Live Oak (vertical), Peveto Woods, LA 2015

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Live Oak (horizontal), Peveto Woods, LA 2015

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Big Branch Marsh NWR

Another Location I visited while in Southern Louisiana is Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. It is on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. It is primarily set aside as a stronghold for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, but it is also good habitat for Bachman’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, and Sedge Wren among other species. It is common practice to mark the trees that Red-cockaded Woodpeckers nest in with a wide band of white paint. Anyway, I made a few photographs in and around Big Branch Marsh NWR.

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Red-cockaded Woodpecker Trees, Big Branch Marsh NWR, LA 2015

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Lilly Pads, Big Branch Marsh NWR, LA 2015

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Dauphin Island, Alabama/Mississippi Coast

I took the opportunity to attend the Society for Photographic Education (SPE) national conference, which was held in New Orleans, last week. It was a great conference and it provided me an opportunity to travel back to Louisiana, where Susan and I lived for four years. I spent a couple of days before and after the conference making landscape photographs at birding locations (perhaps a new long term project) along the gulf coast. This first set of images was from Dauphin Island, Alabama and various locations along the Mississippi Coast.

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Water Tower, Dauphin Island, AL 2015

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Sunrise through Fog, Dauphin Island Beach, AL 2015

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Palmetto Understory, Goat Trees Sanctuary, Dauphin Island, AL 2015

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Live Oak, Goat Trees Sanctuary, Dauphin Island, AL 2015

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Live Oak Branches in Fog (color), Shell Mounds Park, Dauphin Island, AL 2015

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Live Oak Branches in Fog (black-and-white), Shell Mounds Park, Dauphin Island, AL 2015

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Pond in Fog, Dauphin Island, AL 2015

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Birds (Skimmers, Sandpipers, Gulls, Etc.) at St. Louis Bay, MS 2015

 

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Amazon Basin (Sani Lodge), Ecuador

I was privileged to join the Biology Faculty from BYU-Idaho on an excursion to Ecuador to visit the Amazon basin, the cloud forest (temperate forests in the foothills of the Andes), and the Galapagos Islands. It really was the trip of a lifetime. I’ve been slowly editing and categorizing photographs. I will post a few galleries of images here. For more exhaustive bird galleries, you may want to visit my flickr page here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/50655108@N05/

This post contains some images that highlight the time a couple other faculty and I spent at the Sani Lodge in the Amazon Basin. This was an amazing place and we were fortunate enough to see a wide variety of animals such as: Caiman, Giant River Otters, Vipers, Monkeys, etc. We also obviously saw great birds including: Toucans, Macaws, Parrots, Antbirds, Barbets, Cotingas, Tanagers, and many others. We were able to spend five days in the Amazon and it was so great. Below are some landscape and wildlife photos. For a more exhaustive bird/wildlife gallery visit my flickr album here: Amazon Basic, Ecuador (wildlife)

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Napo River (site of Sani Lodge), Ecuador, 2014

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Napo River (in fog and rain), Ecuador 2014

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Elevated “sidewalk” leading to Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Jose (our guide), paddling a canoe in the black water stream, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Canoe Dock, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Guest Cabin, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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View of the Lake from the Restaurant, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Trail Head, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Rob at the base of the Canopy Tower, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Todd, Rob, and Myself on the Canopy Tower, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Canopy Tower, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Giant River Otter, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Woolly Monkey, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Black-headed Parrot, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Black Hawk-Eagle with Snake, YaSuni National Park, Ecuador 2014

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White-throated Toucan, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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American Pygmy Kingfisher, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Capped Heron, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Squirrel Cuckoo, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Gilded Barbet, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Giant Potoo, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Pied Puffbird, Sani Lodge, Ecuador 2014

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Boise Birding

My friend Steve and I drove over to Boise in order to find a few good birds that are being seen in the area.

We were able to relocate a few birds including:

Red-throated Loon, a possible Western Gull, Mew Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Anna’s Hummingbird (new Idaho bird for me), Yellow-throated Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, and a Western Screech Owl.

Photos:

Yellow-throated Warbler, Boise, ID 2010

Western Screech Owl, Hagerman, ID 2010

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Quite a day of birding

My friend Steve and I decided to go to Curlew National Grasslands, which is in Idaho just north of Snowville, Utah. The area contains good juniper habitat and is one of the only places in the state to find Scott’s Orioles. It’s also a fairly reliable place for Blue Grosbeak and Bewick’s Wren.

I got up at 3:30 and drove down to Steve’s. We left his place at around 4:30, which put is in Curlew Grasslands sometime around 7. Our first stop was Grandine, an area with a pond and trees where I’ve seen Blue Grosbeaks in previous years. There were a lot of birds at this stop, but we couldn’t find a Grosbeak. After an hour or so of searching we both smelled skunk. We were just getting ready to walk out of the area in case a skunk was nearby when Steve yelled and jumped. I didn’t even look at what he was yelling at I just jumped and ran the other way. All of the sudden it smelled really strong of skunk. Steve took a pretty good hit. I think I avoided it for the most part. It was quite a way to spend the day. Steve and his truck reeked.

Well, after that we made our way up Black Pine road into the juniper habitat. We met up with our friend Bob and managed to find a few target birds including – Ash-throated Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, and Bewick’s Wren (a new bird in Idaho for me). We really wanted a Scott’s Oriole and spent the greater part of the morning driving around searching suitable habitat, but coming up empty. We also found other neat birds like Pinyon Jay, Scrub Jay, Plumbeous Vireo, Burrowing Owl, and Ferruginous Hawks.

After a while driving around we decided to head back to the first juniper habitat we visited. I got out and opened the gate for Steve. I noticed a bit hole in a ditch near the road and I assumed Steve saw it as well. I was looking the other way when Steve drove through the gate and he drove right into the ditch. His front driver side tire dropped into the hole and didn’t even touch ground. It lifted his rear passenger side tire off the ground. After a few minutes of futile digging and trying to figure things out. Bob and I drove into Snowville and found a tow truck. The tow truck got him out pretty easily. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find a few more birds.

One of our last stops was a truck stop for dinner. The waitress could smell us as soon as we opened the door. She kept a good attitude and got a pretty good tip.

Here are a few photographs of the adventure.

Off of Black Pine Road, Curlew National Grasslands, ID 2010

Burnt Juniper (most of the area was burned a few years ago), Curlew National Grasslands, ID 2010

Ash-throatedFlycatcher, Curlew National Grasslands, ID 2010

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Steve getting Unstuck

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Market Lake – Spring Migration

Birding was really good at Market Lake WMA today. There were dozens of Western Tanagers, Empidonax Flycatchers, and Wilson’s Warblers. There were several Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Olive-sided Flycatchers, an American Redstart, several Warbling Vireos, a couple Yellow-breasted Chats, and several sparrows of several species. My friend Steve also found a Northern Parula (an eastern bird that shows up rarely in Idaho). It was a fun day to be out dodging the rain showers.

Western Tanager, Market Lake, ID 2010

Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Market Lake, ID 2010

American Redstart, Market Lake, ID 2010

Northern Parula (sorry, it’s a bit soft), Market Lake, ID 2010

Tree Swallow (odd plumage), Market Lake, ID 2010

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Market Lake – Early Spring Birds

In spite of the weather (we had a full blown blizzard Saturday), spring migration is well under way. I made it out to Market Lake a couple of times this weekend looking for new arrivals. It’s a great time of year to be out. Ducks and Geese are abundant, Sandhill Cranes are displaying, and Blackbirds are setting up territories. New birds arrive everyday.

Here are a few photographs.

Market Lake, Roberts, ID 2010

Snow Geese, Market Lake, ID 2010

Red-winged Blackbird, Market Lake, ID 2010

Sandhill Cranes, Market Lake, ID 2010

Sandhill Crane, Menan, ID 2010

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