Friday, June 22, 2012

Yellowstone Birds

 There are over 300 species of birds in Yellowstone. I had the official list and expected to spend time looking for them all but with only a couple of days in the park - dedicated birding didn't happen. Most of the time we were in the car driving the figure 8 inside the 3-thousand square mile area. There are lots of stops, lookouts, picnic areas, short walks and photo opportunities but many of the hiking trails away from populated areas were closed because of bear activity.

Western Tanager
This was the first year we didn't have migrating Western Tanagers in our backyard, so I was thrilled to see them in Wyoming.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager
This handsome, hungry guy was posing for me along the side of the road where we had stopped to check out a bear sighting. 

It's common in the park to see a gathering of people where wildlife has been spotted. As we were hiking back to see yet another beautiful mountain stream vista, several tripods and cameras with ridiculous lenses were set up along the walkway. We assumed the friendly English visitors were looking at the far-away hills for wolves, but they had their cameras aimed at a small hole in a large tree stump not a dozen feet from the path where a Williamson's Sapsucker had a nest. Hearing that, I joined the long wait for the birds to make an appearance.

Williamson's Sapsucker (female)
The female was inside the nest. When she left, we knew it wouldn't be long before the male appeared. The female looks very different from the male.

Williamson's Sapsucker (male)

Soon, the colorful male appeared. He landed on the back of the stump and quickly walked around to the side so I could get a great look at his colors - black and white with a bright yellow belly and red chin.

Williamson's Sapsucker
 I wish my picture was clearer but I was focused on the hole in the tree.

Williamson's Sapsucker
 His back is not as interesting. This was a Life Bird for both Bill and me.

Canada Geese
 We saw lots of Canada Geese along Lake Yellowstone.

Barrow's Goldeneye
 Our first day in the Park was extremely windy - so windy that trees blew over closing roads until they could be cleared. The lake was so choppy that many of the ducks were hugging the shoreline. It was very difficult to get decent pictures. We have Common Goldeneye Ducks here in Colorado, but this was my first sighting of a Barrow's Goldeneye.

Cliff Swallow
 I don't think I've ever seen as many Swallows as I saw this trip; Tree Swallows, Violet-green Swallows and Cliff Swallows. They are impossible to photograph in flight so I was glad to have some pose in their nests.

Cliff Swallow
 These mud nests were lined up on the back-side of one of the clean, well-stocked rest rooms that are abundant throughout the Park.

Violet-green Swallows
Dark-eyed Junco
Green-winged Teal
 All of the many, many ducks were far away so pictures were challenging - especially in the wind. We saw 3 kinds of Teal - Cinnamon, Blue-winged and Green-winged.

Red-breasted Merganser
 And we saw lots and lots of Mergansers with their unique profiles.

Lesser Scaup
 I hope I have these Scaup identifications correct!

Greater Scaup
Red-winged Blackbird
I was surprised to see so much water in the Park - lakes, ponds, streams, rivers - water everywhere. And where there is water, there are Red-winged Blackbirds.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Thanks for thinking of me! This butterfly looks like a White Admiral to me (Limenitis arthemis). However, the variation in yours is spectacular!