At Crestwood Park in Cottonwood Heights, I meet people who ask me,
"What do you find to photograph here?"
This page serves as a visual answer to that question
As Winter gives way to Spring, the area is filled with sights and sounds of birds migrating north...
Here is a view of the Wasatch Mountains looking northeastward.
This is the view of the Oquirrh Mountains, to the southwest.
A Female Red fox is but a few yards away from dogs determined to catch her...
She is the current generation of females (2010) with offspring hidden on the hillside, as has been the case for years past...
The female was only a few feet away from me as I fired a series of photos during her escape...
This day, she is lounging with one of her offspring, who leans a paw on her flank, studying me..
The young fox dropped its head and scowls at me moments before the mother signals to scramble!
On this occasion I found 2 of the 5 kits out in the open, but in a safe location.
The other 3 kits were a distance away, watching the activity from the side.
On Saturday, June 12, 2010,
I encountered this pair of buck mule deer
at about 7:00 P.M.
The light was poor for photography...
Notice the second buck has a malformed set of antlers
Compare this buck's antlers with the above deer
To me this has a 'painterly' look about it...
But my main purpose for being there was to photograph birds in the area, like this woodpecker
Here is another larger woodpecker, the Northern (Red-Shafted) Flicker, common to the area
Here we see the ubiquitous Mourning dove, seen year 'round.
The Scrub Jay is also a year round resident
But, when Springtime arrives, so do the plentiful numbers of Black-headed Grosbeaks (male here)
To me, the female Black-headed Grosbeak is so different in appearance, it could be another species
Notice the massive beak... hence the name, Grosbeak ...
Female Grosbeak catching insects , much like the Flycatcher group of birds...
Like the Olive-sided Flycatcher seen here...
And the Eastern Kingbird seen here...
Eastern (seen here) and Western Kingbirds apparently got their name, 'Kingbird' by not tolerating birds to perch above them. Typically you will see these birds at the highest point they can find, where they fly toward flying insects and catch them in their open mouths.
In this montage of an Eastern Kingbird in flight, notice 2 examples where you can see the insect that will be devoured!
Hummingbirds can be found everywhere, especially on dry twigs at the top of trees and bushes
California Quail are permanent residents to this place also.
Cooper's Hawks are routinely found here, living off smaller birds
Here is a juvenile Cooper's hawk in pursuit...
Here we see an adult Cooper's hawk, which is about 17 inches in length
Coloration of the Sharpshinned hawk (seen here) is very similar to the Cooper's hawk; but the Sharpshinned hawk is only about 11 inches tall.
The Redtailed hawk also patrols the Crestwood area, being much larger than the aforementioned hawks.
American Kestrels are a permanent fixture here...
The Kestrel is the smallest of the American Falcons. Some people assume them to be Peregrine Falcons, or even Merlins. I have yet to see either of these species at Crestwood
The Turkey Vulture is occasionally seen at Crestwood Park; but it is a scavenger and not a bird of prey.
This day, a Turkey Vulture was being harassed by a gang of black billed magpies.
The action gets a little heated, after a while...
Finally, the Turkey Vulture calls it quits and flies away, with magpies dispersing also.
Another ubiquitous bird here is the Black-capped Chickadee
These birds are known for their call, "Chickadee'dee'dee"; and their "Phoebe" call... very cool!
The Spotted Towhee will occupy a prominent place on a tree or bush to utter its melodic call; but most of the time they are out of sight, scratching for insects and food in the deep underbrush.
But a favorite bird of mine appears in springtime to add a portion of the rainbow to the landscape, the Western Tanager! (male)
The amount of red pigment among the males will vary considerably, with some birds having only a slight amount of orange-red.
Contrast the earlier bird with this one, feasting on a bee!
Look at the intense red color on this bird...
And the American Robin is a bird not to be forgotten on this list
The House Wren, a diminuitive bird, makes up for its small size with its distinctive call
The bright color of a Yellow Warbler
A nice find, a Lincoln's Sparrow
Another nice find along the river, an American Dipper, a bird that spends considerable time underwater.
Rapidly shaking its head side to side causing a slight blur, the dipper has caught a very tiny fish!
The American Dipper distinguishes itself by bobbing up and down rapidly while standing.
If you look along the river in Autumn when it is at its lowest level, you might see an Eastern Brook Trout like this 16 inch trophy.
Looking even closer, you might see some native Suckers like these well-camoflaged fish
Autumn, 2010 and the riot of colors against the blue sky is breathtaking
The first snowstorm of 2010 begins in the Rocky Mtns, to the East
All the animals accelerate their feeding behavior, including these House Finches
The Northern Flicker also prepares for his winter stay at Crestwood Park
The Western Scrub Jay is also a year-round resident here.
The foxes that emerged in the Spring now blend well with the colors of Autumn
Instead of a fox "Kit", we now see the emergence of a handsome adult animal
I also see a surprising number of feral cats, wreaking havoc on what birds winter here.
In a week's time, I counted 10 different cats here!
As Winter 2010-11 approaches, more birds of prey appear, including a Sharpshinned Hawk
The Sharpshinned Hawk is extremely cautious and flies away as I approach
Snakes will soon disappear into hibernation
Here we see the first Prairie Merlin I've seen at Crestwood, Oct. 30, 2010
The Merlin is a Winter resident to the Salt Lake Valley and is shown here stretching
Sharp Talons are used for preening
This Merlin is the 2nd Merlin I've photographed, doing amazing contortions!
On November 9, 2010 I was amazed to first hear, then see approximately
80 Sandhill Cranes flying South overhead at Crestwood!
They began to 'mill around' overhead, giving me some excellent, but distant
The Sounds they make are unforgettable, wistful, melancholic...
Sandhill Cranes, flying South for the Winter
Here you see a pair of cranes, photographed in Springtime at another location...
just so you can see what they look like up close.
As of December 6, 2010 the Foxes are alive and well at Crestwood
I made a noise to get this fella's attention.
He responded by sitting down and studying me!
Wintertime the Raptors are well represented here... A Cooper's Hawk
This Kestrel is the most colorful one I've ever photographed!
Watch the hillsides for interesting birds! Here we see a pair of Redtailed Hawks
At this late date, Ruby-crowned Kinglets sometimes winter in the valley
In Wintertime, Juncos have moved into the valley, as seen here.
Likewise, the White-Crowned Sparrow is a common winter visitor here.
This is an ADULT
Here we see a JUVENILE White-Crowned Sparrow... What a difference in appearance!
The Spotted Towhee is a favorite of mine. They are present year 'round here.
Watch for the Spotted Towhee in the underbrush, scraping the dead leaves away to find food.
If you'd like to see a most beautiful bird species (CEDAR WAXWINGS) I photographed
at Crestwood Park in August, 2009,
(Images from Autumn, 2011 are below:)
Spotted Towhee... Crestwood Park, Cottonwood Heights
Another Spotted Towhee. Crestwood Park
Spotted Towhee, (using ISO 6400). Crestwood Park
Song Sparrow, Crestwood
Norther Flicker, Crestwood Park
Flicker in flight
Black-billed Magpie, Crestwood Park
I enjoy when Magpies are in flight... the translucent white of their wings.
No shortage of Black-billed Magpies at Crestwood Park for practice.
Downy(?) Woodpecker, Crestwood
Dark-Eyed Junco, Slate-Colored Race... Crestwood Park
Dark-Eyed Junco- Crestwood Park
Western Scrub Jay, Crestwood Park
Western Scrub Jay, Crestwood Park
Scrub Jay with Peanut
Black-capped Chickadee, Crestwood Park
Black-capped Chickadee, Crestwood Park
Yet another Chickadee...