Saturday, August 4, 2018

Utah Wrap-up

I definitely saw a lot of life birds on the trip. A few notable birds that didn't make the other posts include some boring looking birds like this Gray Flycatcher.

Gray Flycatcher
And this Gray Vireo.

Gray Vireo
And this new species of Crossbill that is only found in the Idaho mountains. Cassia's Crossbills are non-migratory and have recently been "upgraded" from a race to a full species. They are specialized to feed on pine cones which they open with their crossed bills. We found these flitting around the trees in a state park after a pretty rough ride in the van.

Cassia's Crossbill
On our way to see the Crossbills, we stopped at a spot that has hummingbird feeders to watch some little gems of the west. We spotted a few of the more common species and then found the one that I was hoping for - Calliope Hummingbird. This is the smallest of our hummers in the US and one that I haven't been able to see until now. Look at the gorget on this guy!

Calliope Hummingbird
Here is a juvenile male that is just getting stubble on his chin like a teenager.

Hummer
On our last day, we found a family of Sage-brush Sparrows.

Sagebrush Sparrow
We also saw some great animals on the trip. One that I was really happy to see and photograph was Long-tailed Weasel. We watched this fast critter dart around the sage brush. I was lucky to snap this shot which shows how long the weasel is.

Long-tailed Weasel on the move
He finally stopped for a few seconds and looked right at me!

Long-tailed Weasel
It wasn't just little critters. On Antelope Island, we found the large mammals. This Mule Deer was the king of his domain. They count the points on the antlers only on one side. Tim said that this was a 6 pointer. Hunting is only allowed by lottery that costs more than $100,000 so this guy might be safe.

Mule Deer
Antelope Island is known more for it's Bison than Antelope. Here are a few roaming the grasslands.

Bison
And here is what we refer to as Antelope but it is actually called a Pronghorn. We spotted a few that didn't run off.

Pronghorn
That's a wrap for this trip. I would do it all again and recommend that you go too.
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