- Animals/Birds of the Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks 2016
- National Parks Landscapes 2016
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2014
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2014
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2012
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2012
- Animals of Yellowstone 2011
- Birds of Yellowstone 2011
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Utah National Parks
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I took another trip to visit the rare Burrowing Owl in Humboldt county, IA. I watched for about 5 hours from the car and it stayed near the burrow the entire time. About every 20 minutes or so it would stand on the top on the dirt mound at the burrow and vocalize in every direction. I believe that it was calling for a mate, which seems unlikely that he would find one being so far from normal breeding territory. In the images below the owl has his head on backwards, Yes, you are looking at the back side - note the tail feathers. (Click images to see larger and watch the video below.)
Watch the short video below...
I have photographed Burrowing Owls before, but I had to go to the the Black Hills in South Dakota and to Cape Coral, Florida to see them. It is pretty rare to see one in Iowa, but with a little help I was able to locate this one in Humboldt County, IA, in a farm field. This photo was taken from the car and heavily cropped. There was a lot of heat shimmer coming up from the field which causes a loss of detail in the photo, but I didn't want to go out in to the field and spook the bird causing it to fly away. I chuckled when I saw the photo. I wondered if the owl was doing the Hokey Pokey - "Put your right foot in..." There has been quite a lot of buzz about this owl among birders and I felt fortunate to locate it to get a few photos.
As were were driving home my lovely wife saw some burrow holes in the ditch along a county road not far from the owl location. I wondered if they might be fox dens and turned the car around. I stopped in the middle of the road to take a look and a badger popped his head out of the hole. I grabbed the camera and took a few photos and then he backed down the hole. I have never seen a badger in Iowa. This was pretty cool.
(Click each image to see larger.)
The last two weeks of April we traveled to southern Utah for our first visit to all five Utah national parks, a couple of state parks and more. We visited Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands national parks, the Joshua Tree Forest in the Mojave Desert in southwest Utah, Snow Canyon State Park near St. George, UT; and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, both state parks are also in the Mojave Desert. The five national parks are a part of the 'Colorado Plateau' a geologic area that has pushed up thousands of feet of sedimentary rock to form a vast kidney shaped plateau covering parts of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. It includes many national parks, national monuments, state parks, and recreation areas, and because of millions of years of geologic forces and erosion has some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. It is hard to describe the beautiful scenery, desert and rock formations that we saw, so we took lots of photos.
Click to see many photos of all of the Utah and Nevada parks that we visited and a little more commentary.
A short video of Baltimore Orioles and Scarlet Tanagers at the back-yard bird feeder. Video with a remote-controlled GoPro about 10" from the bird feeder.
A few of the Spring birds in the backyard recently. Two Scarlet Tanagers (one shown here), a dozen or more Baltimore Orioles, almost as many Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, at least 18 American Goldfinches American Robins, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Blue Jays, Harris' Sparrows, ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and many more. It is fun watching them, (and refilling the feeders).
On our recent road trip to Utah national parks I was able to get out and photograph the Milky Way in a very dark sky in the Mojave Desert in Southern Utah. Only a few wispy clouds, no moon and almost no light pollution. Incredibly bright stars. I've never seen the Milky Way this bright and clear in Iowa because we have too much light pollution, humidity and haze in the air.
One more Milky Way photo, taken at Balanced Rock in Arches National Park, Utah. This was just after the moon set and just before sunrise one night last week. There is a bit of light on the horizon from the city of Moab, but otherwise a very dark and clear sky.
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.