Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tranquil Trekking

Beautiful day to be alone in my thoughts!
After an hours hike from my house in Mountain Green, Utah, I turn to take in the view. Amazing, isn't it? I am facing South East looking over Morgan Valley. Not a sound could be heard nor did I see any moose, deer or fox. While there were many prints in the snow, mine were the only human ones.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

First Sighting!

Look what flew into my yard on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011!
Last week, my neighbor said she had seen a bird that she did not recognize, describing it as green with rosy breast. Since I haven't seen anything new in a while, anytime I am outside I scan the trees and sky.

Finally, after running errands in town, I turn into my driveway and notice a large woodpecker on the side of the telephone pole hiding from view, thinking it is the Northern Flicker that regularly perches there, my glance is quick, but wait-- the color is off. I crane my neck even more much to my discomfort to see that is it not the Flicker but something else. I quickly continue up the driveway and into the garage all the while hoping the bird would not leave its perch. Quickly I run into the house and grab my bins. As I walk, I look through my bins at the same time (which is not easy for me) taking in all the details at once. Being a novice birder, I don't know the bird species very well. I see dark green overall coloring, red breast, long & thick beak like a woodpecker before it flies away. I am so excited!!!! I high tail it back into the house to search the woodpeckers in my field guide.

What is it, you say?

It's a Lewis's Woodpecker!

Why am I so excited about a woodpecker? It's is new Life Bird for me!

In my excitement, I grab the phone, standing at my front porch windows looking at my feeders, and call my friend, Kathie, who lives in Boston area now. Without letting Kathie say more that "Hello". I say "Guess what I just saw? No, you'll never get it! I just got a new Life Bird!!!! It's a Lewis's Woodpecker!! In my own yard!!!" Squeals of excitement as I relay all the details. Suddenly - right in front of me - the woodpecker lands in the trees -honing in on the suet feeder. It is absolutely gorgeous! Kathie says "Where's your camera?" Luckily it is sitting right on the window sill!

Lewis's are described as a large long winged woodpecker; very dark overall; dull green head and back; gray collar and breast; deep red face and a light red belly. Lewis's Woodpeckers are common in most of Utah year round, yet in my 13 years of living here I have never seen one. The Sibley Field Guide migration map shows Morgan County split between summer and migration and the Bird's of Utah Field Guide shows the county split between year round and migration.

Not a very flattering shot, but it does show the pale red color of the underbelly.

The gray collar, green head and back are very visible in this view.

Notice the contrast between the deep red cheeks and the pale red belly.

Isn't he a beauty?

While standing at the window, still talking to Kathie and taking pictures, a few more feathery friends show up.

A female Downy Woodpecker creeping down to the feeder.

A red-shafted Northern Flicker eyeing the suet.

The Downy flying away as the Northern Flicker swoops onto the suet feeder.

Hope you enjoy this moment of My Mountain Green! I know I do!

I apologize to all my photography friends. I am sure these pictures are not even close to the quality and caliber of your pictures. I use a Canon PowerShot 8 mega pixal digital camera. All of these shots are zoomed to the max and all, but the last one, are cropped. My windows are very dirty as well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


While the country east of the Continental Divide is under the grips of bitter cold, blizzard snow & crippling ice, Northern Utah is experiencing one of its 300+ days of unbelievable sunshine! Absolutely Gorgeous! Looking out the window, one’s breath is almost taken away by the stunning view.

Looking NW towards Snow Basin Ski Resort (zoomed in)

Looking NW towards Snow Basin Ski Resort (normal view)

Yet, as I step outside on the balcony to take unobstructed pictures,

my first breath is immediately caught in my throat and I begin coughing.

Looking SW towards Francis Peak mountains (zoomed in).

Looking SW towards Francis Peak mountains (normal view).

This is the deception!

While the sunshine and the mountains are shining in their glory,

it is bitterly cold, -12 F!


Very few birds have come to the feeders this morning. Just a handful of Black-Capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches, and Juncos are braving this frigid air.

Stay Warm and Cozy, My Mountain Green! I think it is time for a hot toddy!