Brighton/Silver Lake/Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Personal Web Site


October, 2017



Links to other pages...


This site reflects my current passion for photographing birds.

I have been photographing for over 50 years; and am now retired from a satisfying profession beginning in Biochemistry, and ending in Biomedical Photography.

Below are links to my most recent nature photography. Hopefully you will find as much enjoyment in viewing it as I do in creating it.


The photos on this page are changed frequently.

Older posts are found by clicking the rectangular "buttons" on the left side of this text.

Links to older posts for this year are located at the extreme bottom of this page!



Questions-Comments about this website?

E-mail Me Here!




Please note:

My images are copyrighted and I ask the courtesy to not use them without written permission.

October 20, 2017

Here are a few birds from Big Cottonwood East Park, in recent days, including more Evening Grosbeaks!


There were a sizable number of Spotted Towhees ganged up in the northwest corner of the park
















An obliging male Downy's woodpecker provided me with these images!













Yesterday, in the southeast corner of the park, there were at least 7 Woodhouse's Scrub Jays collected in a Box Elder tree!

Even though they occupied tree limbs in close proximity, there was absolutely no vocalizing! They would drop to the ground and forage...










along with foraging among the olive tree trunks...




One bird took the role of 'sentinal', high in a Cottonwood tree!




Finally, the Evening Grosbeaks are back this year!













I'm looking forward to days where there are even more than the dozen or so I just saw!













October 10, 2017

A continuation of migrating birds in Big Cottonwood East Park

I've been photographing in this park since 1995, and I just witnessed the presence of 3 Steller's Jays high in a dead tree at the south end of the Park! Two of the birds exited before I could get my camera ready; but one lingered long enough for this grab shot!






On another day, I discovered 2 Merlins at the same time!

A Prairie Merlin as seen here...



And a Taiga Merlin, seen under terrible lighting conditions!



Here is the way the Taiga Merlin would look (from my portfolio) under better lighting conditions!



A juvenile Cooper's hawk, along with an...



Adult Cooper's have been mainstays in the park for months!



A Red-tailed Hawk appeared one morning...




only to be harassed by one of the Cooper's...







A resident American Kestrel showed up with breakfast...





Western Tanagers continued to appear until recently, being one of the species of birds that relish Russian olives, as seen here!



This bird captured a mouthful of Dragonfly...







On another sunny day, this Western Tanager captured a Grasshopper!





Yellow birds are common in the park throughout the seasons...

Here is a close-up of a bright Lesser Goldfinch.






Lesser Goldfinches are our smallest goldfinch species.



Yellow-rumped Warblers have migrated into the park en-masse, and are currently the dominant bird species!



They, too, are fond of Russian olives!



Occasionally, Yellow-rumped Warblers will display a yellow head-crest!

The Yellow-rumped Warblers above are called; "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped warblers,


wheras, the bird below (uncommon) is a "Myrtle" Yellow-rumped warbler, depicted as such by the presence of a white throat.






Sparrows such as this Brewer's Sparrow are migrating through the park.



Another view...



And another...



Winter will display White-crowned Sparrows such as this juvenile, at the park...



Along with the adults...



I'm not good at identifying "Flycatchers" species, but I've posted some anyway!









This flycatcher, I think I know. It's a "Gray flycatcher" (a good find!)



The ubiquitous male Downy Woodpecker, is a year 'round resident.



A series of close-ups of "Orange-crowned Warblers", common while migrating.









A handsome Woodhouse's Scrub Jay on an overcast day...





Here is a migrating Lazuli Bunting (sans breeding plumage) on a cold day...



This 'puffed up' Lazuli was visibly COLD!!



Here's a Lazuli bunting on a warm Autumn day!



Last, but not least! migrant... a favorite of mine... Cassin's Vireo!





















September 27, 2017

I'm currently sorting images, but I think my viewers will be happy to see images of a male Evening Grosbeak from today, the first seen at Big Cottonwood Park East in several years!!











more images from Big Cottonwood Park East to come...














September 10, 2017

Multiple days studying wildlife in Big Cottonwood Park East.


During the month of August, and continuing to the present time,

(September 10), an extraordinary number of Western Tanagers have been occupying the park!




I've photographed dozens of these Tanagers without seeing any sign of male breeding plumage. They all look alike, with the exception of the intensity of their yellow color. It varies a bit.





While looking at so many yellow birds, this female Bullock's Oriole wandered into range of my camera, and was pointed out to me...

Thanks, Mike!



The Tanagers have been foraging primarily on insects attracted to the Russian Olive trees.












While I was photographing, the Tanagers would concentrate in the same trees, with birds numbering in the dozens!







Monarch butterflies were present, albeit few in numbers



One morning, there was a sizeable cluster of Yellow Warblers ....



















A Gray?... Willow? (thanks Jeff) Flycatcher provided some fine images near the park pond...









Early one late August morning, I discovered 4 Raccoons high up in a medium sized Cottonwood tree!













It was quite an experience photographing these critters as they hurriedly exited the tree!



Back to the Western Tanager deluge in the park...



I spent considerable time trying to locate any adult male that still sported some breeding plumage color, to no avail!







Finally, one late evening, with marginal light, I discovered a Male Western Tanager still in breeding plumage!!





The Western Tanagers discovered a River Hawthorne tree with its fruit








Cedar Waxwings had discovered the fruit earlier...

Male Cedar Waxwing






Juvenile Cedar Waxwings were also well represented in the Hawthorne.




Berries, 'down the hatch'!



Adult Cedar Waxwing



I was pleased to discover a First Winter Male Black headed Grosbeak!!



Rufus hummingbird male



Black chinned juvenile/female hummingbird close to the Hawthorne...



In recent days I discovered some birds not often seen in the park!

A Woodhouse's Scrub Jay!




A glorious Great Horned Owl,









Recently I discovered a Warbling Vireo in the park...







Within the same Cottonwood tree, I also discovered a Red breasted Nuthatch!







For a 2nd time, I re-discovered the Red breasted Nuthatch this past day! (Sept.10) as seen below...







Likewise, toward this past evening, I located another Warbling Vireo as seen below!









I'm hoping that I'll see a great variety of migrants this season, as was the case in previous years!!!



















July 21, 2017

If you're looking for relief from the valley heat, and would like to see some wildlife, consider a jaunt up to

Silver Lake/Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon!


It's not often that a photographer is blessed with 2 male Moose in one photograph, so close to home!








(Note: On August 8, Joel Beyer posted on "UBird", the same 3- toed Woodpecker I had located at Silver Lake/Brighton on July 19.

He submitted a photograph from Sunday, Aug. 6th .


A 2nd post from UBird's Tim Avery mentioned the same bird on August 12.)


On July 19, when I showed the image from my camera to a male employee at the Nordic Center, he told me the bird had been around for some time.

My reason to report this is to let everyone know the bird is and will likely continue to be a 'temporary resident' for awhile!

NOTE: These woodpeckers are rare!!!


I 'struck gold' by discovering a male

"American 3 Toed Woodpecker" on July 19,2017!



Look closely and you can see the left leg with its "3 Toes"!



Yellow Warblers are to be seen...







Another 'yellow bird' (male Western Tanager) is to be seen at this altitude.






Likewise, you might also see the female Western Tanager.






Other Woodpeckers are to be seen, with this one being a male "Hairy Woodpecker" (note the tiny hint of red in the bird's crest).



In an adjacent tree, I located a female Hairy Woodpecker.



Here is a juvenile Red-naped Sapsucker.



Another "Red-naped Sapsucker".






A female close by...



Back view...


Continuing my Silver Lake/Brighton series...

Another Warbler, a non-breeding Yellow-rumped Warbler



A back-view reveals the 'yellow rump'.



Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler, in breeding Plumage



same bird 'camoflauged' against a pine trunk






Downy Woodpeckers are fairly common here...









Continuing my Silver Lake/Brighton series...

Mountain Chickadees are busy feeding their fledglings...

adult with food for its fledgling...



Adult Mountain Chickadee (L), feeding a juvenile busy flapping its wings



A fledgling Green-tailed Towhee...



An earlier fledgling Green-tailed Towhee...



A juvenile in a tree...



Yet another juvenile...



Slightly older than the above, showing adult colors, yet still a hint of it's "Gape Flange" (corner of mouth, below the eye.)



another view...



An adult Green-tailed Towhee...



Another example...




and yet a 3rd example of maturation among Green-tailed Towhees.



Continuing my Silver Lake/Brighton series...


Brighton/Silver Lake is the location I rely on to photograph Fox Sparrows.

Below are but a few....



Here is a 'classic' Fox Sparrow!












These Fox Sparrows vary in their plumage, with some being this year's fledglings.



Continuing my Silver Lake/Brighton series...


White-crowned Sparrows are also plentiful; and at this time of year, they have been producing lots of youngsters.

Adult White-crowned Sparrow







This is a very young fledgling!




As attested by the presence of its "Gape Flange"! (the yellow area between the eye and the bill)



Here is an adult foraging for food, while the fledgling waits at its side!



A fledgling that's a bit older...



With this being an even older "juvenile White-Crowned Sparrow"!


Continuing my Silver Lake/Brighton series...


Lincoln's Sparrows also breed at this altitude!

Adult Lincoln's Sparrow



A fledgling Lincoln's Sparrow!








and again.



An extreme close-up image illustrates the Gape Flange on another Lincoln's sparrow.






This Lincoln's Sparrow is foraging for its 'dinner'!



It ends up becoming entangled in its food, with a wiggling earthworm coiled around its bill!



One final Lincoln's Sparrow...


Continuing my Silver Lake/Brighton series...


I happened upon a bird 'tree-hugger'!... a female Hairy Woodpecker!



The Hairy Woodpecker ended up getting entangled in a spider web.



It provided me with a variety of 'poses'!



Back of the head...



Front of the head while preening...



Classic pose!



I find Silver Lake/Brighton Steller's Jays to be very accomodating!









A different Steller's jay...



I love this pose...!



This Steller's Jay discovered a fluorescent 'ball' from a fisherman's pole!




It's somewhat common to encounter Brewer's Blackbirds in Silver Lake/Brighton.






I encountered a female/juvenile Rufous hummingbird...




And I couldn't resist another Western Tanager male a considerable distance away...




The bird list goes on...

and you might want to continue going there, especially in the autumn.







You might encounter a Wilson's Warbler that matches the color of the surrounding trees!!

















July 3, 2017

Recent images of wildlife from the "Kennecott Nature Center",

Murray/Jordan River Parkway

For 3 consequtive summers, I've photographed Swainson's Hawks that 'come home' to a particular power line in Murray, west of the Jordan River! Here are the most recent.



























It's been several weeks since I saw this female Wood duck on the Nature Center pond...



Some people were wondering if this might have been a female Mandarin duck...



So, I've included a Mandarin pair photographed in Murray Park to illustrate the differences between the females.



On a rare occasion, American Avocets visit the Nature Center pond...















Spotted sandpipers have been plentiful at the pond this year...






A Black-crowned Night Heron is often seen there...












Western Kingbirds have been somewhat abundant...
















California Quail population has exploded at the Murray/Jordan River Parkway this year!






For several days running, this Sora cruised the edge of the water at the Nature Center!












A recent rainstorm flooded the pond, and the Sora adapted to it!






Shades of "Narcissus"!!!



A Muskrat came by...









An omnipresent Turtle!



A Hummingbird... gathering nesting material.









Brown headed Cowbirds are well represented in this area...

Male (L); Female (R).






5 male Brown-headed Cowbirds together.



A Great-tailed Grackle, with his LOUD call...







In contrast to the Grackle's noisy call, people along the parkway love the sight and sound of the ubiquitous Red-winged Blackbird!





















June 27, 2017

I've been active in photographing fledglings of several species these days...

An earlier post (below labelled June 21) featured an extensive series of Belted Kingfishers


Today I begin with recent Bullock's Orioles, fledging along the Murray/Jordan River Parkway.

Here is an old Bullock's Oriole (empty) nest from another year to show its structure.




Here is one of many active nests... the location where I photographed the following series of Orioles this year...



Here is my first fledgling Bullock's Oriole for this year, waiting to be fed by it's parents.



A 2nd fledgling has also shown up.









The fledglings were wandering through the tree limbs, not capable of flying yet.



The fledglings have located each other.



They have positioned themselves to receive food.




which brought the adult female into play.



On a subsequent visit from the adult parent, the 2 birds have changed positions.



The male adult stood as a sentinal, watching the activity closely.



A totally separate species, Killdeer were near by, with their fledglings on the ground!

Adult Killdeer




Tiny, fuzzy Fledglings, foraging out in the open, blend well with their environment!












Here is a Killdeer fledgling, a week later, showing size and coloration changes compared to the ones above.










June 21, 2017

For the past several days, I've been photographing a family of Belted Kingfishers!

What a delightful experience!

Day after day, the birds would show up, exhibiting behavior that was remarkable!

An adult pair of Belted Kingfishers were teaching (and feeding) four fledgling Belted Kingfishers how to 'fish'!


Below are several series, showing their detailed behavior over time.

A juvenile Belted Kingfisher...



Another view... (the bird was waiting for an adult to appear with food.)



The parent flew in.. notice the tiny fish held in its beak.



Feeding time...(the fledgling is on the left, with the adult feeding it (R).





Another series, beginning with the adult looking for fish.



The adult succeeded in capturing a small fish



It flew to a hidden place where a fledgling was waiting.




There were small fish along with Crayfish, (shown below by an adult waiting to feed a juvenile).




The adult (right) has passed the crayfish to a fledgling.




Here we see a juvenile (right), excited about the prospect of food.




The adult (right) passed a fish to the juvenile.



Another adult (L) flew in.






The fledgling Kingfisher (center, with fish in mouth), flanked by 2 adults




Another sequence begins, here, with a single bird in flight




There was an immediate aerial encounter with a 2nd bird!















Finally the 2 birds separated,

The original bird began to hover, looking for food.









The bird began its dive...




On his way...!









No success on this 1st dive...



A 2nd dive...



There's a fish in there somewhere!



Notice the "Nictitating Eyelid", covering the eye when underwater!






with fish in mouth!



On it's way to a waiting fledgling...



a point of rendezvous, waiting for an unseen fledgling...



A fledgling! (L)












The adult Kingfisher (R) says, "I'm outta here!



Alone again, but with food!




a single image promoting chattering...




Here are several sets of images, showing Kingfishers after they hit the water after fish...












"Missed again, heh? Dont take it so hard!"



It'a fun for me to see a series of images like these 6!


















An adult Kingfisher brought a crayfish aboard...



The adult gave the center Kingfisher the Crayfish.



Have you ever seen 4 Belted Kingfishers together as in this frame?!



The adult that brought the crayfish sits in front, while the 3 juveniles haggle over the prize!



A lone Kingfisher surveys the pond...



dives for a fish...



emerges with a tiny morsel...



becomes airborne, with a tiny sliver of a fish in its beak...



cruises over the pond...



and waves goodbye to me.




















June 17, 2017

I've been enjoying a wonderful series of experiences, following a family 6 Belted Kingfishers, as the parents teach the fledglings how to 'fish'!


Below is only one set of a sizable number of forthcoming series...

Adult just captured a small fish...



then landed here...




A fledgling (that flies as well as the adults) flew in to occupy the lower part of the stick



The fledgling (bottom) worked to adjust its position to accept the fish.



The stick moved a bit, causing the adult to flare its wings for balance!






The fledgling struggled to get access to the adult.



The fledgling opened its mouth at this point.



The parent shifted its position to feed the fledgling.



The fledgling decided to manuver again!



Finally, the positioning was successful!






Food delivery was successful!



The adult took this opportunity to exit the scene, leaving the fledgling.



The fledgling completed devouring the fish, then moved on!












June 12, 2017

Below are some random images taken along the Murray-Jordan River Parkway, beginning with: a nice image of a Caspian Tern.



The bird was hovering over the Mill Race Park Pond.



This Tern is sporting a leg band!




A close-up makes it more visible.




The bird was very actively gorging on trout from the pond.




Contrast this current Tern with leg band...




to the elaborate leg bands I discovered on another Caspian Tern from April, 2011 (this bird... 3 images below) was banded on the Columbia River 5 years earlier, according to the Faculty from a university in Oregon!






Both legs have been banded with multiple colored bands on both legs, providing the research faculty in Oregon evidence to identify the bird on the wing!











June 6, 2017

Here are a few new images of the RARE male Indigo Bunting from my 2nd successful morning visit to Wheeler Farm in Murray Utah!

















June 5, 2017

I woke up this morning, dressed to take my morning walk, but before leaving home, I went to my computer to find that Pomera Fronce had posted the presence of a RARE Indigo Bunting at Wheeler farm, and she was looking at it!

Within a few minutes I was also looking at the bird, along with a notable number of lady birders, some photographing!



Thanks To Pomera for providing access to this RARE male Indigo Bunting!
















I'm pleased to have photographed this rare bird!










June 1, 2017

I've been enjoying the birds in and around the pond at the "Kennecott Nature Center", Jordan River, Murray, lately!

American White Pelicans have been there, because of the presence of some small alien fish!



The Pelicans had been away from the pond for a number of years, along with other fish-eating birds! They will stay awhile if the water level is maintained.



Notice the presence of a Black Crowned Night Heron, another fish-eater, in the upper left corner!



In the latter part of June, 2013, the pond looked like this...



By September, it was totally dry, killing the alien fish, called, "Dojo Loaches" a Eurasian weatherfish (discarded into the Jordan River, from someone's aquarium).



With the loss of water, we lost a variety of fish-eating birds!



Including this Neotropic Cormorant, with a Dojo in its mouth!




Before the pond dried up, I captured a series of images showing a male Belted Kingfisher courting the female, shown below!



The male had captured a Dojo and was coaxing the female to come to him.



The female (right) met the male halfway.



coming in for a landing!



The male (distant bird) took this opportunity to hand off the fish to the female, a ritual of courtship!



The female accepted the fish, and the pair was bonded!



Meanwhile, a Neotropic cormorant succeeded in capturing a Dojo...



Cormorants flip their fish upward, and grab them again and again to kill them before eating!



A lovely Forster's Tern hovered over the pond one day when the pond was productive...



It hit the water, but came up without a Dojo fish!



The Tern hovered again...



The bird hit the shallow water with a vengeance!



The Tern was successful this time!



A rare bird for this location, an adult Green Heron showed up in 2012, looking for Dojo's also! This bird only stayed for 1 day!



I was teaching a photo student this day, and she pointed out the Green Heron to me!!



The Heron stretched out his neck for this image!



On another sunny, hot day, this male Belted Kingfisher made dinner for himself at the pond...




Kingfishers 'whack' these fish multiple times before they swallow them!



There were so many other varieties of "fish-eating" birds at the time before the pond dried up completely!

Let's hope that this year, the pond will have enough water to continue to attract them again!!

















May 18, 2017

I'm finally back, now with some good birds from various locations!


During the 1st week in April, this year, I began photographing Mandarin Ducks seen below:

There were 4 present... 3 males and 1 female at an undisclosed area.


Earlier, in May,2015 I had located a Mandarin family there, which I, alone, photographed for over a month.


(Click HERE to see the extensive Mandarin Family series from 2015 .)


This year, while photographing, I was surprised to see several other photographers.

I asked how they knew about these Mandarin ducks!

Even though they didn't know each other, all had the same answer: "Facebook"!


The "Cat" is "out of the bag"!

Over a 3 day period that I tried to work the area that I studied 2 years earler, there were more new faces with huge telephotos... so many people that the birds took off, disappering upstream.

I gave up!

Apparently, the birds occasionally show up over time; but I prefer to leave the location alone.


Here are a few of this year's Mandarin ducks from Murray Park!

The 2 males...















Here is the mated pair...













May 26, 2017

From Big Cottonwood Park East, here are a few new birds...

A Yellow Warbler...



Yellow Warbler vocalizing...



Male Western Tanager!



2nd male Western Tanager



3rd male Western Tanager in direct sunlight






Finally, a Lark Sparrow!



A handsome male Bullock's Oriole!


He just grabbed a juicy green caterpiller!


The caterpiller will be a good source of protein!


One final image of the Oriole's dinner!


Some late afternoon images below of the male Bullock's Oriole...








Final image of Bullock's in Big Cottonwood East Park.


I discovered and posted the location of SORAS (several) in the pond!


I was successful in showing the birds to several birders over time...


I photographed them several days in a row!



In another post, I'll include a Sora from another location.


First of Year male Black headed Grosbeak!




Here we have a female Black headed Grosbeak in late evening...



I located a Western Wood Pewee (flycatcher) at Big Cottonwood East.






This gorgeous male American Goldfinch was a pleasure to photograph!










And this particular Western Tanager was also fun to capture digitally!




Here's a close up of a female Western Tanager...








Another Black headed Grosbeak on an overcast day...







And, finally, a breeding plumage Yellow rumped Warbler!
















Posts for the year 2016 can be seen by clicking on the links below:














(includes my Utah-Mandarin Studies)