July-August 2015



August 27, 2015

Reaching out to more distant birding areas, I again visited Bountiful Pond.

The place sounded like a war zone, with an extremely low flying airplane zooming around, along with multiple unseen (but close) military type firearms being fired on 'automatic', rapid fire.

I saw only one Tern, along with 'Stephanie's' Common Loon, still hanging around the pond.



Caspian Tern...







Stephanie Greenwood posted this Common Loon (non-breeding colors) from Bountiful Lake some days ago...



Frustrated with the noise and lack of birds, I retreated to Farmington Bay/Glover pond; and the low flying airplane followed!



I watched with great concern, not knowing what this pilot was thinking, flying so low (Heron nesting place to one side)!



A lone Great Blue Heron stood on its perch watching the plane zip by.




A 2nd time around, the plane looked even closer to the ground!!







Moments later, the plane's activity made sense! The airplane was spraying for mosquitos! Shortly he left.




At which time I got serious about finding some birds, starting with this Greater Yellowlegs...



Doing some stretching...



another view of a 'Greater Yellowlegs'...




Terns were more abundant in this area! (Forster's Tern)







I was pleased to locate a GREAT EGRET! with gulls for size comparison!



Stunning. (BIG) bird!




A smaller variety of Egret flew past.. A Snowy Egret!




A lovely bird... good way to exit this field trip!









August 26, 2015

At Big Cottonwood Park East, American Kestrels are, at present, often seen!

I have photographed 4 separate birds in the same Russian Olive tree over time, just north of the "nest-box" where they were likely hatched.

2 of them have been banded, with the one below having bands on both legs!




Another view of the above bird...







August 25, 2015

My home has a tiny yard, where birds are only occasionally seen!

This morning, when the automatic sprinklers came on, I noticed, in the Sugar Maple, some movement.

There were 2 male Downy Woodpeckers... one foraging and the one (below) having a shower bath, nestled in the Sugar Maple!

Neither bird provided me with ideal images; but the one 'showering' was worth a few attempts. Notice the blurred water droplets flying about!



I'll take any opportunity available to me this summer, to photograph birds with my new camera system.... Certainly an unusual summer for me with only a very few birds to be seen!








August 21, 2015

I'm 'hunkered down' in my home with the luxury of clean filtered air to breathe...

Outside for the past several days (and more days to go!), the air is visibly polluted from smoke coming from the west-northwest (California/Oregon/Washington/Idaho) infernos!!

No relief in sight!!!

On the 16th of this month, I took my last walk, along the Murray/Jordan River Parkway, noticing the ongoing buildup of smoke that morning!

I did hit some 'paydirt' regarding birding that morning...

The Swainson's Hawk that has been present for over a month appeared on a distant pole (not it's favorite)...



close up of the familiar bird...




It was agitated about something... and was vocalizing toward some distant object.







I noticed a bird perched on the shaded side of the Swainson's favorite perch!




Upon closer examination, I discovered it, too, is a Swainson's hawk, albeit a juvenile!




This newcomer Swainson's was looking directly at me...



Going to the opposite side of its perch, I fired off some images such as this...




The juvenile Swainson's hawk persisted in staying in the shade of the structure!





The following images were taken at the same time as the ones directly above, but posted on August 21.


On Mill Race Pond, adjacent to the river, I discovered an obliging juvenile Double Crested Cormorant, seen below:




For comparison, below are images of an adult Double Crested Cormorant...You can now see why they are named: "Double Crested"

this one having a white double crest.




Here are several adults with just one having the white crest.



Going back to my car, I once again encountered a juvenile Western Kingbird... (you expert birders will notice the 'Gular Gape Flange' marking it as a juvenile). (I'm loving the intricate detail my lens provides!)




Same juvenile... different pose and lighting, with the gape flange more pronounced. (Non-birders: its the flesh-colored strip between the eye and the bill.)











August 14, 2015

Birding at Big Cottonwood Park continues to remain dismal; but there are plenty of foxes!

I've had lots of feedback from viewers, asking me to continue posting foxes!

So, here is one, sleeping out in plain view of the heavily travelled trail on the northeast side of the park (horse corral)!



Cropped images display the fox waking up and seeing me...



He sleepily looks around...






Back at me...




and casually drops his head to sleep again!!




A juvenile Cooper's hawk made an appearance close by...



Along with dozens of bright Lesser Goldfinches foraging in deep cover.




A single Goldfinch up close...




Another single bird...



Black capped Chickadees are tricky birds to photograph!!!




And I ran into a single Lazuli Bunting, possibly a first-Fall Male, with food in its mouth!










August 12, 2015

Crestwood Park parallels Big Cottonwood Park, with its population of Kestrels (and foxes)



Both have Red-tailed Hawks...









and Cooper's Hawks

(Notice on this bird, it's 'nictitating transparent eyelid' momentarily covered the eye, dulling the normally red color.)




A fraction of a second later, the eye was cleared and the natural red of an adult is seen.




At Big Cottonwood Park East, Foxes are typically seen at a much closer distance, as seen below!






At Big Cottonwood Park East, two Kestrels flew into the old dead Cottonwood at the same time...

1st one...






Close up...



The 2nd Kestrel...





I sure will be happy when September rolls around, bringing the plethora and variety of southward migrants!!!











August 9, 2015

At Big Cottonwood Park East, I located one of several

American Kestrels that have fledged there, coming from a nest box only a few hundred yards away from the bird below

(Notice the leg band!)












August 4, 2015

Photo-Image Odds and Ends from recent days...

Bountiful Pond was a meager source of Forster's Terns in flight, to test my new lens...









At Farmington Bay, I photographed a Great Blue Heron...




(Closeup) showing a "Dojo" or Japanese Weather Loach in its mouth!




Big Cottonwood has 'cooled off' regarding birds...

Eurasian Collared Doves are more abundant there these days...



Here is one atop the old dead Cottonwood Tree.



The same bird in flight...







being watched closely by a juvenile Cooper's Hawk...!






At Crestwood Park, there were numerous Lark Sparrows foraging.



Close-up of an adult Lark Sparrow...




another example of a Lark Sparrow adult...




A lone juvenile Lark Sparrow also appeared at Crestwood.






At Mill Race Pond in Taylorsville, I spotted an object in the distant grass...



Which ended up being a Killdeer!











August 2, 2015

Touring the Farmington Bay WMA, the sight of a Western Kingbird hovering near a power pole got my attention!

Here it is, resting in close proximity to its nest full of offspring!








And here are images of 3 fledgling Western Kingbirds waiting for food!








A somewhat illogical choice of nesting locations; but, oh well...!







July 31, 2015

Recently I made a stopover at Bountiful Pond; and while walking the path there, a juvenile Spotted Sandpiper popped up, scurried through the grass...




and entered the pathway!



It then proceeded to run like an adult parent would, to have me follow it for a long distance!




That's the pattern Adults use to lure animals away from their nests!

This bird never flew. Instead it ran in front of me for a hundred yards or so...




To illustrate adult behavior, here's an Adult Spotted Sandpiper,another time, in the act of luring a predator away from its unseen nest!!




An adult Spotted Sandpiper 'posing' for me here... so it seems!




Finally another adult, foraging in the river!

Cool birds!!!










July 30, 2015

Wandering in Big Cottonwood Park East, I saw my first

White-faced Ibis there!

It appears to be a juvenile bird, with a broken leg!

However, it appears to be faring well!




Compare the new arrival above with a Breeding Adult from Farmington Bay below.










July 23, 2015

Walking/birding along the Murray-Jordan River Parkway again, I re-discovered the same Swainson's hawk that I posted 3 weeks earlier, on the same power pole!




This time I was able to get a few different 'poses' compared to earlier.




This was my first time to see/hear a Swainson's hawk vocalize!













Gorgeous bird!!




Looking up at a hole on a horizontal limb, I found an "Old World" (introduced) male House Sparrow.







another closeup...




I encountered several Western Kingbirds... I suspect they are juveniles







My final observation was of a feral cat, noticing how well it blended with the existing flora!












July 19, 2015

A single, simple image of a

Classic 1st Summer Male Black headed Grosbeak

This bird temporarily possesses three physical traits (simultaneously) of:

Juvenile (gape flange)

Adult Male (coloring)

Adult Female (coloring)

as it matures into an adult Male!




A closer look...!









July 18, 2015

A late evening at Big Cottonwood Park East provided me with some excellent Photo-testing opportunities!


Mourning Dove in late evening direct sun.

(notice how the evening sun distorts the dove's normal coloration!)




A Sharp-shinned hawk with a freshly captured Mourning Dove



The sun had set minutes earlier, and the Foxes became active!

Image below is before I set the camera on: "Active D-Lighting"!



After setting the camera, and using Photoshop CS6, the foxes looked like this!




The image below was taken at 8:30 P.M. Mountain Daylight Time in deep foliage with a hand-held 620mm telephoto lens!

This technique demands more experimentation... I'm on a Roll!!!












July 13, 2015

It seems easier for me to locate foxes, at both Big Cottonwood Park East, and Crestwood Park these days.

Fox, staring me down, at Big Cottonwood




The foxes at both locations are living off Gophers found there!




Another Gopher, this time an adult...




This fox at Crestwood Park was actively hunting in plain sight, delighting onlookers walking the park!




This fox at Crestwood Park had captured a Gopher and was heading back to its den.












July 9, 2015

Birds, for me, are few and far between these days!

This scarcity of birds in my neck of the woods is frustrating, with me having a brand-new, state-of-the-art Nikon Telephoto lens!




Out of desperation, I focused (pun) on a distant Swainson's hawk on the Murray/Jordan River Parkway. (Full frame)




Doing a conventional crop, I end up with this result...




However, there is a great deal of visual information to be enjoyed by doing an extreme crop, as seen below!




A handsome bird, it made my walk that much more rewarding!












July 2, 2015

With the absence of birds normally seen in my walking areas, I turn my attention now to explain to people observing Mallard ducks at this time of year...

During the months of July and August, I'm asked:

"Where have all the Greenhead (male) Mallards gone?!"







I say, "They're sitting on the water in front of you!"

Ducks molt during Summertime at which time the "Greenheads" end up looking like a female (with a yellow bill!).

The result is called, "Eclipse Plumage".


They regain their colorful "Green Head breeding plumage" between late Summer into Autumn!

Male Mallard, Eclipse Plumage


Male Mallard, Eclipse Plumage



Male Mallard, Eclipse Plumage




Male, Eclipse phase




Note: There is one rare exception with Male Mallards, seen in the Race, "Mexican Mallard" where the male looks like it's in Eclipse plumage year around.

I got lucky on November 5, 2009, when I photographed a rare male Mexican Mallard at Springdale Pond, Washington, Utah.


Rick Fridell reported the duck on November 22, 2009, at which time I asked him if my image was the same bird. Rick confirmed that it was!

Mexican Mallard male!




The other species of ducks also have summertime molts!

Another example below:

First, see the male Pintail (adjacent to a male Mallard) below in its Breeding plumage.

The following images were from the Murray-Jordan River Parkway.




Another image of the male...




The same Male Pintail, Eclipse plumage




A favorite image of this Male Pintail, Eclipse plumage. (Aug.30, 2012)




A final image of this male Pintail that took up residence at the "Kennecott Nature Center pond", Murray/Jordan river, beginning in April and was present constantly until Freeze-Up time!

Here he is, again in his 'Breeding Plumage', November 2012!