- Yellowstone In Winter
- 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
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Utah National Parks
- About Me
I went paddling at the Venture Marsh and saw many birds including four new birds to me - a Marsh Wren, Least Bittern, Black Tern, and Common Moorhen. In addition there were the regulars - Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and American White Pelicans, among others. Paddling the solo canoe is always a great way to photograph birds. [Click images to see larger.]
We often have House Wrens nesting in various places in our yard. This year we had a nest in a birdhouse in the front yard next to the driveway, so it was easy to watch the adults building the nest, bringing insects to the nest to feed the chicks and then to watch three House Wren chicks ready to take their first flight yesterday evening. This morning they had left the nest box.
An interesting 'Birds of Prey' - raptors show at the North Iowa Fair with Jonathan and Susan Wood from the Raptor Project (not to be confused with the Iowa Raptor Project). They had some great birds as a part of their show and told some interesting stories about the birds. You can see the names of the the birds if you click the images to view larger.
A Dickcissel singing among the prairie flowers. Or perhaps I should say a Dickcissel on a thistle (try to say that five times really fast). They often look like a small Meadowlark (different beak) or a female House Sparrow. They are found singing in the summer along fields, meadows and prairies. While looking for prairie flowers, Dickcissels and other birds (and feeding mosquitoes) a rainbow dropped down from the sky. A nice addition to a beautiful summer day. [Click images to see larger.]
I photographed two Whooping Cranes in North Iowa! According to the International Crane Foundation, there are only 757 Whooping Cranes in the entire world - less than 600 in North America. They are the rarest and most endangered bird in North America and the tallest bird at about five feet tall - at least a foot or more taller than Sandhill Cranes. There are two major flyways: from the Aransas National Wildlife refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas to Wood Buffalo National Park on the northern border of Alberta, Canada; and from central Wisconsin to the southeastern U.S. These two cranes seem to have strayed off of those flyways. (Well, Iowa is a great place to visit.) I'm guessing that they are part of the group of Whooping Cranes hatched and released by the the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, but I am waiting for confirmation (see note below photos). They have identification bands and transmitters on their legs. There was no sign of young birds so I don't believe that they are nesting. They have been hanging out with two adult Sandhill Cranes that do have a young colt (chick) - photo below. According to Paul Hertzel, records from the Iowa Ornithologists Union indicate that there hasn't been a successful nesting pair of Whooping Cranes in Iowa since 1888.
A special thanks to the person that helped me locate these birds. All the photos were taken from the car with telephoto lenses, so as not to disturb the birds. I would never get out of the car and attempt to approach them.
Click the photos below to see a larger and the video below the photos.
Note from the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI:
These cranes are 1-17 and 2-17, who were part of last year's costume-reared cohort. 1-17 is a male and 2-17 is a female. They were released at White River Marsh in Wisconsin last year with the other costume-reared birds, but the group of 8 seemed reluctant to migrate on its on so they were split up. 1-17 and 2-17, along with another juvenile 8-17 were driven to Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, and from there they continued on their own to Alabama where they spent the winter. This spring when they began to head back they got slightly sidetracked on their way to Wisconsin. They spent a few weeks in the Springfield, IL area and are now in Iowa! It will be interesting to watch them and see what their movements will be in the next few years!
The waxing crescent Moon setting tonight. (I think this is the one that the cow jumped over.) Venus was also very bright and close to the Moon in the sky, but I liked the image of the Moon alone better. When the sun hits the moon at an angle it really shows the shadow of the craters.