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The Barns

April 2015 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH:

A monthly journal of wildlife reports, scenic opportunities, and tidbits for both photographers and Teton visitors!

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Daily Updates Archives:
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2015: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
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2013: Dec: | Nov: Oct: | Sept: | Aug:

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Where’s the April Overview?

Starting this month, you can click on this new page: Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP to get a quick overview of each of the 12 months side by side. Check it out!

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Silent Hunter

 If you happen to be in Jackson Hole, check out the 4th Annual Jackson Hole Photography Contest. This image was selected for the show, available for sale at the Art Center or through Teton Images. Admission to the show is free. 240 S. Glenwood.

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April 30, 2015

End of April!  Tomorrow, I’ll have to start a new page for May. It won’t have much on it for a while, of course. April has been good this year as you can see below. On May 1st, a lot of GTNP will be opened up for the visitors. In reality, it the list of place NOT open will be much shorter than the list of places that ARE open.

  • May 1: Inner Park Loop Road Opens
  • May 1: Moose-Wilson Road Opens
  • May 1: Curtis Canyon and Bridger Teton Forest Opens
  • May 1: Mormon Row Road from Antelope Flats Rd. to Gros Ventre Road
  • Grassy Lake Road won’t open until at least June
  • Upper Gros Ventre Road past Red Rock Ranch opens later.
  • Not sure?: Schwabacher Landing or Cattleman’s Bridge area.

Climber

Rock Climber: I took this shot from the Highway back towards the Climbing Rocks on Blacktail Butte. I checked the distance today with my Rangefinder. If you click the image, it will bring it up on your screen to show a cropped area of the shot taken 250 yards off. I can’t make out the small lettering under the “d” on his chalk pouch, but I find it amazing you can even see the pouch at 2.5 football fields distance.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: I drove up the newly opened Mormon Row Road looking for baby bison. I found around 300 bison, but no babies. It rained overnight, so there were clouds over the Tetons. There were a few breaks in the clouds in the east, offering some nice moody light.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: Taken from Antelope Flats road. You can see some of the green starting to fill in.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: Most of the shots from today had only a minute or less of a window of opportunity.

Moulton's Peach House

Moulton’s Peach House: Not many of these aspens were in the scene during the farm’s hey day. You might enjoy seeing some photos from the early-60s. The Moulton Barns: 1963-1965

Software: Lightroom CC now available.

LR Pano capture

LR Pano capture: This is a screen grab of a DNG image created from 5 images captured with a D800 and Tamron 150-600mm this morning. Very cool! At least in theory, I could delete the five original captures and just keep this one composite. There were no adjustments added to the images before I merged them, so I could now go in and treat the image as a normal RAW file and do the normal adjustments.

John Moulton Barn Pano

This is a quick edit on the DNG file in Lightroom CC. The crop is non-descructive, meaning I could now go in and pick out any area and process it, or make virtual copies at will.  I am impressed! I tried running the pano merge on my PC and it took forever…I suspect part of that is because of the file of my LR catalog file now hogging up RAM. I ran the same set of five images on my MAC and it processed the image in under 5 minutes, but it has almost nothing running or taking up ram memory. I was able to transfer the final file to my PC in roughly 2.5 minutes via the wireless network. Both files eventually processed and I can’t see a difference in them. I should also mention the files were 35 megapixels, shot at 14 bit, so each one is close to 75 megs. The same set of five images on my D4 would be considerably smaller and probably quicker. (click the image above to see it quite a bit larger)

Mangy Moose

Mangy Moose: This bull was in a side channel of the Snake River at Moose Junction this afternoon. They are not too attractive this time of the year.

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April 29, 2015

Bison Bull Portrait

Bison Bull Portrait: I did a quick loop into the Park this morning. I watched numerous small herds of Bison pass in front of me on Antelope Flats Road, but I didn’t see baby bison.

Passing Bison Herd

Passing Bison Herd: Familiar location? D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Yellow-bellied Marmots

Yellow-bellied Marmots: These two interacted like a pair. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Face to Face

Face to Face: Yellow-bellied Marmots. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Marmot Relaxing

Marmot Relaxing: This one found a spot in the rocks that reminded me of a “Lazy Boy” chair. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Uinta Ground Squirrel

Uinta Ground Squirrel: Another of the many smaller critters roaming around in the valley.  D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Mormon Row

The Gate On Mormon Row: Bison were at the gate heading south from the homesteads on Mormon Row. Each took their turn rubbing against fence posts and rails. This might not be a great photo, but I post it here today to let people know the gates at each end are now open. A Park Ranger came by and opened them for the season. It is a good area to find Bison, Elk, Pronghorns, Meadowlarks, Bluebirds, Kestrels, various Hawks, and no telling what else. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Bison Bulls

Bison Bulls Sparring: There might have been 200-300 Bison in the area…mostly cows, young bulls and year old calves. I didn’t see any babies in the herd. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Osprey Taking Off

Osprey Taking Off: D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

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April 28, 2015

Red Fox

Red Fox: This Red Fox has color markings similar to a Coyote. I found it this morning along the Moose-Wilson Road near Sawmill Ponds. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Osprey In Flight

Osprey In Flight: This bird was near a nest along the highway out to Wilson.  D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

End of April Notes:

  • Moose are still visible in the mornings, but are terribly shaggy. Some have antler growth.
  • Deer are active in the mornings around Kelly.
  • I saw on a few Bison this morning. It’s amazing to see how large herds can disappear for a day or two. Bison babies should become more visible.
  • Some Elk are still migrating north out of the Gros Ventre and into the sage flats, but most are farther north now.
  • The National Elk Refuge is quiet.
  • Grizzly sow 610 appeared for a very short period of time last week, but I haven’t heard any reports of additional sightings.
  • JH News/Guide: GTNP season ready to start as roads, lodges open  Teton Park and Moose-Wilson roads will open Friday.

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April 27, 2015

Afternoon in JH: I worked on an upcoming Feature Post I promised a while back about a few “artsy” techniques. Around 3:30 pm, I headed out hoping to find a “red dog”.

Red Dog

“Red Dog”: I heard this term in Yellowstone a long time ago. I saw this bison crossing the road with the new calf as I was driving up. I grabbed the D800 and Tamron 150-600 and took this “record” shot hand held. I didn’t have time to set up the tripod before she got into the thicker sagebrush. I know of at least two baby bison now. There has to be more!…and surely will be. Now, the challenge is to get better shots with early morning light or a more dramatic background.

Bison and Barn Backdrop

Bison and Barn Backdrop: Taken along Antelope Flats Road as a band of light hit the distant homestead. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Peach House Visitors

Peach House Visitors: I took lots of similar shots of Bison around the John Moulton Homestead. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Rock Climber

Rock Climber on the Climbing Rocks: I carried my heavy tripod, D800 and Tamron 150-600 up the hillside to take shots of the group of climbers. I’ve lived here almost 30 years and never made that climb. I’ll be back! The climbers were all very friendly. I got enough photos today to make a new Feature Post, but I think I’ll wait until I go back a few more times. There’s a wider shot with the Grand in the background I’d want to include.

Shear Wall

Rock Wall: I shot this image from the highway using a Nikon D800 and the Tamron 150-600mm. I zoomed in tight at 600 mm on quite a few shots, but liked this one at around 280mm. The “Climbing Rocks” are at the NW corner of Blacktail Butte near Antelope Flats Road.

Osprey Returning

Osprey Returning: Right after I purchased the Tamron 150-600 lens, I put it on the D800 and shot that combination for quite a while.  I switched over to the D4 to take with me on the Sanibel trip. The lens performs well on either one! This was taken in the late evening today, just before the sun dipped behind the western range. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: There’s a small pond just north of the Visitor’s Center on North Cache. In the late evenings, the sun still lights Crystal Butte on the east side of the National Elk Refuge. That light gets reflected into the pond. Today, I spotted a pair of Trumpeter Swans, so I pulled over for a few shots. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbirds: They’re back! I took this one just after taking shots of the swan. There wasn’t much light at the time, but I took a few to document the return. Around this time, a few White-faced Ibis usually work their way through the valley. I will be watching for them. They are beautiful! Out on the sage flats, I am expecting to see Long-billed Curlews soon. D800 and Tamron 150-600mm.

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April 26, 2015

Great Blue Heron

New Feature Post: Tamron 150-600mm Lens at Sanibel Island, FL. It has around 40 photos of the 13,000 I took on our recent trip to Florida. The image above is a Great Blue Heron, a bird we have here in the Tetons, but I seldom see one landing out in the open like this.

Morning Boat

This is a shot that didn’t make onto the new Sanibel page. Earlier today, I looked outside to see large snow flakes falling from the sky. I grabbed my gear and headed out, but quickly learned the snow was falling primarily in town. I was hoping to find a few bison to put with the flakes. Oh well! During the Winter, I’ve mentioned it is possible to take gear from “warm to cold” but not from “cold to warm”. The glass and sensors can fog up. After going back to my vehicle in the winter, I either wrap the cold gear up in a heavy jacket or put it in a jumbo plastic bag to let it warm slowly. When I was in Sanibel, I put my camera and lens on the front seat of the rental car, and headed out very early one morning. I ran the air conditioner on the way from the condo to the lighthouse. When I got out for the first shots, my lenses fogged up in the warm, humid air. This is one of the shots I took after it happened. After that morning, I put the camera and lenses in the trunk, rolled the windows down, or left the AC off altogether. I’ve never personally done it, but I’ve seen images where the photographer smeared petroleum jelly on clear glass filters for some creative, artistic effects.

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April 25, 2015

The JH News and Guide published this story today: Royal grizzly family out and about   610 has been seen and photographed near Oxbow Bend with two new cubs of the year (COY). I waited a while, then headed north. There were lots of people driving around, but I didn’t see any bears. If they are out, I don’t mind hanging around, but it seems like I am missing out on so much when just sitting in a parking lot hoping they appear.

Park Updates: The Convenience Store at Colter Bay opened today, along with the re-opening at Dornans at Moose Junction.

The Grand

The Grand: It rained in much of the valley yesterday and overnight. There was a dusting of new snow in the high country. The clouds had just pulled back from the peaks when I took this image from the Willow Flats area. The lake has ice on it but the surface is cracked and mushy looking.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: On the way home, I made the loop around to Kelly, stopping to take this shot of the barn from Antelope Flats road.

Bison on a Ridge

Gros Ventre Bison: I have been looking for the large bison herds over the past couple of days. Today they were streaming off the butte north of the Gros Ventre Road towards the Gros Ventre River. I’ve heard a fairly reliable report of people seeing a couple of baby Bison recently. That’s early for the Tetons, but then a lot of things seem early this year. I’ll be watching for the little “red dogs” and hopefully get a few shots soon.

Bison

Bison: Most of my shots of Bison in GTNP are against sagebrush. Nice to get them with Spruce trees behind them once in a while. These photos also show a little of the “greening of the valley”.

I’m trying to finish a new Feature Post called: Tamron 150-600mm Lens at Sanibel Island, FL. It has around 40 photos of the 13,000 I took on our recent trip to Florida. Check back or sign up to follow the blog!

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April 24, 2015

T.A. Moulton Barn

T.A. Moulton Barn: I stayed out after sunset last night and took a few shots of the two barns. Technically, they were taken on the 23rd. (Nikon D800 and 24-70mm lens)

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: This is one of the last images I took—roughly two hours after sunset. (Nikon D800 and 24-70mm lens)

American Robin

American Robin: The brown background is actually the TA Moulton barn from earlier in the afternoon. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Osprey Landing

Osprey Landing: This pair is still bringing new sticks to the nest. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Morning in the Park:

Wren

Wren: I am not sure what kind of Wren this is, but I spotted it on the East Boundary Road. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Singing Meadowlark

Singing Meadowlark: Taken on Mormon Row Road. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Elk Migration

Elk Migration: This has been a fairly common scene for the past 10 days or so, but each day, there are less Elk in the southern portion of the park—and almost none on the National Elk Refuge. This group was getting ready to cross Antelope Flats Road near the old “Mailbox Corner”. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. This shot shows some of the color returning to the valley floor now. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Sandhill Crane Pair

Sandhill Crane Pair: This pair was quite vocal this morning, echoing loudly through the quiet marshy region. Beavers have been extremely busy lately along the Moose-Wilson Road, although I haven’t seen a beaver. I believe the summer visitors will be amazed with the changes at Sawmill Pond. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

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April 23, 2015

Morning Barn

Morning Barn: I was at the Moulton Barn at 5:30 am and took a few shots with the aid of a 2 million candle power flashlight.

Barn and Corrals

Barn and Corrals: D800 and 24-70mm lens for 30 seconds. I prefer to do this kind of work in the evenings. When leaving the house in the dark, it is almost impossible to know if the Tetons will be covered with clouds. Light from the morning sun lights the scene much too quickly and reduces the impact of the flashlights.

Sunrise Clouds

Sunrise Clouds: Taken from the Moose-Wilson Road.

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road with a Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600 at 600mm handheld. Vibration Reduction was turned on and I was leaning against the parked vehicle with the engine turned off.

Moose in a Side Channel of the Snake

Moose in a Side Channel of the Snake: I shot this one from the bridge over the Snake River at Moose. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Mangy Moose

Mangy Moose: By late June, these bulls will have much larger velvet covered antlers and a sleek new fur coat. Right now, most of them are pretty scruffy. I stopped along the highway near the JH Airport for this shot as I was driving back to town. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Lightroom 6?: If you are a subscriber at www.lynda.com, you can watch some tutorials showing some of the new features of Lightroom 6. I’m ready! It is supposed to be much faster, along with quite a few nice new features. Panoramic and HDR images should be much easier.

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April 22, 2015

Buck Rail Fence

Buck Rail Fence: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Aspens

Aspens: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Waiting for Fed-Ex: The new power supply for my monitor should be here this morning. I stayed home to be able to sign for the package. These are a couple of shots from yesterday along Spring Gulch road using the Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Yesterday Afternoon in the Park: Late in the evening, I headed north, hoping for a chance to photograph a grizzly bear. I saw a few animals, but no bears. Pilgrim Creek Road is now open for about 2 miles to the second pump house. Cattleman’s Bridge Road is still closed. The road to Two Ocean Lake is still closed along with the Forest Service Road going north. There isn’t much snow on the ground around Oxbow except patches in the forests. Jackson Lake is still frozen, but there are patches of open water along the edges in places. There were lots of elk on the hillsides around Oxbow and in Willow Flats. Each day, I see fewer and fewer elk in the south end of the park. Bison, in groups of around 40-100, are fairly common in the sage flats. In the past few days, early morning temperatures have been in the mid-20s in the Park just before sunrise, but it warms up fairly quickly once the sun clears the eastern ridges. The road down to Dead Man’s Bar is now open, but the Snake River is “blown out” for most fishermen. Grass is turning green on the Elk Refuge and around town. The aspens in town are dropping their “caterpillar like” seeds. Oh yes, I’ve been seeing Tree Swallows on the fences along the National Elk Refuge. They split up the nesting boxes with the Mountain Bluebirds.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark: After my power supply arrived, I added it back to the system, then headed out. I have been trying to get a few shots of the Meadowlarks, but they haven’t been easy to get. This one was on the East Boundary road near Ditch Creek. There were quite a few elk and bison near the Kelly Warm Springs, but so far, I haven’t seen any baby bison. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

American Kestrels

American Kestrels: This isn’t much of a shot, but shows two of the birds that have recently returned to the valley. They were at the end of the newly opened Mormon Row Road. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Red Fox

Red Fox: Not a great shot either, but it documents a Fox in the Moose Visitor’s Center area. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron: Taken on the Moose-Wilson Road at the old Beaver Pond. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Elk on the Ridge

Elk on the Ridge: Also taken on the Moose-WilsonRoad. Most of the larger Bulls have already shed their antlers. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Mule Deer Ears

Mule Deer Ears: It’s easy to understand where they got their name. This one was on the Maurie Center Road near the Visitor’s Center. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

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April 21, 2015

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: With clouds predicted for this morning, I was up early. This was taken from Spring Gulch Road. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

The Grand

The Grand: Also taken from Spring Gulch Road at first light. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: All of these images were taken along Spring Gulch road. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Buck Rail Fences

Buck Rail Fences: The Park Service has been systematically removing the historic old buck rail fences inside the park, often replacing them with much less attractive barbed wire fences. A few of the ranchers outside the park still use them. This was taken along Spring Gulch Road with a Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Ridge Line Bull Bison

Ridge Line Bull Bison: Taken from the Gros Ventre Road. A group of three bison had just crossed the Gros Ventre. I’d like to get some photos of that event someday. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Uinta Ground Squirrel

Uinta Ground Squirrel: These little critters can be found just about anywhere along the valley floor. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yellow-bellied Marmot: I found this mid-sized critter basking on a rock along the highway. I always like to see the tail when photographing Marmots. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yellow-bellied Marmot: Same critter, but in the rocks this time. I’d speculate this is a male and the female is in the den with the babies. The Red Squirrel in my back yard appears to be nursing babies now, too. (Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens)

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April 20, 2015

Monday Morning in the Park:

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: Taken during the first few minutes of morning light. I didn’t see ANY elk on the National Elk Refuge today. The bike path along the Refuge is now open. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Osprey

Osprey: Taken from the Snake River bridge at Moose. The river is higher with the Spring run-off beginning. I am not sure if the river is officially “blown out”, but it is definitely off color and flowing faster. The Gros Ventre River is still low and mostly clear. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Pine Marten

Pine Marten: I would have liked to have been a lot closer, but I at least managed to get a shot of him. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Finally! My first Great Gray Owl of the year. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Down Time: Yesterday morning, I came upstairs to see my 30″ Apple Cinema Display’s screen black. The computer was still on, so it didn’t look good. I switched out a cheap Dell monitor for now, but I don’t trust the colors and lightness/darkness. I took my power supply to the local Simply MAC store this morning. They tested it and let me know the unit was dead. I ordered one off Amazon and it should be here in a couple of days. I love that monitor! The new Apple Thunderbolt monitors are not designed to work on a PC, which I need to run my thermal printers and plotters.

Downey and Hairy Woodpeckert

Downey and Hairy Woodpeckers: Females lack the red patch on the back of their heads, as seen here. Downeys are smaller and have a shorter bill than the Hairy Woodpeckers. I haven’t seen the males lately.

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April 19, 2015

For the Bird(er)s:

Osprey Landing

Osprey Landing: I did the normal “Kelly Loop” today and saw plenty of Bison, Elk, & Moose. The photos I took today look a lot like the ones I posted yesterday, so I’ll show something else….birds! I found Osprey on about half of the traditional nests yesterday, including the nests near Wilson. I saw at least one Great Blue Heron in Sawmill Pond on the Moose-Wilson Road this morning. Sandhill Cranes are common in most of the south parts of the park now. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Osprey Mating

Osprey Mating: This pair was adding sticks to their large nest and occasionally mating. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

American Robin

American Robin: Robins have been in the valley in large numbers for a month or so. While driving around today, I saw at least two confirmed American Kestrels. A couple of Bald Eagles were perched atop some posts north of Kelly. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Evaning Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak: I saw my first female Evening Grosbeak yesterday. I managed to capture one in the camera today. Besides the House Finches I’ve seen off and on lately, I saw my first few pairs of Cassin’s Finches yesterday. Some of the leaves on my back yard trees are starting to display green leaves. I expect to see Bullock’s Orioles soon, so I put out a few oranges and a hummingbird feeder. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

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April 18, 2015

Morning Bison

Morning Bison: Taken along Antelope Flats Road near Kelly. (D800 and Nikon 70-200mm)

Alert Cow Elk

Alert Cow Elk: Taken near the Kelly Warm Springs. (D800 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Spike Elk and Cow

Spike Elk and Cow: Taken at the Kelly Warm Springs. (D800 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Elk on Ridge Line

Elk on Ridge Line: Just above the Kelly Warm Springs. (D800 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Elk Cows

Elk Cows: Elk are on the move and scattered all over the valley floor at first light. (D800 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes: Taken on the Moose-Wilson Road. (D800 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Bluebird

Bluebird: Taken on the Moose-Wilson Road. (D800 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Young Bull Moose

Young Bull Moose: Taken at Sawmill Pond on the Moose-Wilson Road. (D800 and Tamron 150-600mm)

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April 17, 2015

Elk on the Ridge

Elk on the Ridge: Taken along the Gros Ventre Road. Skies were clear today so I spent my morning with the wildlife. (D800 and Nikon 70-200mm)

Kelly Warm Springs

Kelly Warm Springs: Elk were scattered all over the southern end of the valley. As I drove by the refuge, only a spattering of them remain there. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Bison on Road

Bison on Road: Around a hundred bison were grazing just north of Kelly today. I saw a smaller herd closer to the highway. (D800 and Nikon 70-200mm)

Morning Bison

Morning Bison: Taken near Kelly. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Elk Migration

Elk Migration: Taken just north of Antelope Flats on the East Boundary Road. (D800 and Nikon 70-200mm)

Tidbits: The gate at West Yellowstone opened this morning. I am considering going up tomorrow and Sunday, but there is plenty to keep me occupied here in the Tetons.  Mule Deer are moving north out of town and were clustered near the Gros Ventre River today. Moose were scattered around the south end of the valley, both in the sage and along the Gros Ventre river. I saw a dozen or more. Osprey should be in the valley in numbers soon. I heard of a couple of reports of early Osprey sightings. Red-tailed Hawks are already around. I haven’t seen any American Kestrels yet, but that should happen soon. Bluebirds, Meadowlarks, Juncos, and Horned Larks are seen commonly along the roads. Multiple different grizzly bears have been sighted lately. The person I spoke with this morning said he spent yesterday looking for them and he didn’t see one. Owls are still scarce. I saw a few Sage Grouse near the Kelly Warm Springs this morning. I don’t think they have begun their mating cycle yet. Hope some of this information helps! MJ

Mountain Goat jumping a wide crevice in the Snake River Canyon near Jackson Hole, WY.

A couple of people asked me about this image. I just added it to my Teton Images site.

(Please note: All images on Best of the Tetons and Teton Images are copyrighted with the US Copyright Office. I will aggressively $$$$$ go after ANY unauthorized use of any of my images including use as source images for paintings. Check out: THE SEVEN DEADLY MYTHS OF INTERNET COPYRIGHT:)

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April 16, 2015

Morning Mountains

Morning Mountains: Taken from Warm Springs Road across from the GTNP entry sign.

Bull Elk with First Antler Growth

Bull Elk with First Antler Growth: Taken from the Gros Ventre Road not far from the Mormon Row Road. This group of bulls was moving from the river bottom towards the sage flats. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Moose at the Kelly Warm Springs

Moose at the Kelly Warm Springs: At first light, there were a couple of hundred elk gathered in the pastures north of Kelly. Most of them appeared to be cows and calves. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Bull Moose in Velvet

Bull Moose in Velvet: Taken from the highway near the “Climbing Rocks” at the NW corner of Blacktail Butte. Before heading to Sanibel Island, I was seeing some lines or stripes in the backgrounds of some images. The inexpensive clear filter I had purchased for the lens was causing the stripes. Once I took it off, images became sharper and lacked the stripes or chattering in the background. On my return plane flight from Sanibel, I put that filter back on to protect the glass on the trip, but forgot to take it off this morning. The stripes reappeared, as seen here. Needless to say, the glass filter is coming back off today! (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Bull Moose in the Snake River

Bull Moose in the Snake River: I took this image from the West side of the Snake River towards the East bank. The Moose was just south of the Snake River bridge at Moose Junction. More than likely, he’ll be in the area all summer and will cause numerous Moose jams for the rangers. (D4 and Tamron 150-600mm)

Road Reports for the Middle of April:

  • The two “two track” dirt roads north of Kelly are now open.
  • The Gros Ventre road past Slide Lake is barricaded.
  • Schwabacher Landing is barricaded.
  • The Inner Park Loop Road at Taggart Lake trail head is closed to vehicles until May 1.
  • Elk Refuge road going north to Curtis Canyon is closed until May 1.
  • Mormon Row Road is still barricaded.
  • The road into the Chapel of the Transfiguration is open.
  • The road to Lost Creek Ranch is open.
  • Cunningham Cabin’s entrance road is open.
  • The roads to Uhl Hill are barricaded, including the road south of Spread Creek.
  • Cattleman’s Bridge Road at Oxbow is barricaded.
  • Pacific Creek Road is open to the housing addition, but barricaded to Two Ocean Lake and the Forest Service Road.
  • Pilgrim Creek Road is barricaded.
  • Most roads in Colter Bay are open. The campground road is closed.
  • The road to Leek’s Marina is open.
  • Grassy Lake Road is closed.
  • The road into Yellowstone at Flagg Ranch is closed.
  • Dornans’s Store is closed. Same for all facilities at Colter Bay and Flagg Ranch.

Gasoline in JH: $2.54 per gallon for self-serve unleaded.

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April 15, 2015

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: It started snowing heavily here in town, so I loaded the gear and went to Oxbow Bend hoping to get some shots of grizzlies in the snow. None of that worked out…it was not snowing that far north and I didn’t see any grizzlies. This Bald Eagle flew into a tree next to Oxbow Bend. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Today, I added this new post: Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP: I consolidated the overviews from each of the 12 months into one page. Anyone interested in coming to JH can compare the months and see some of the subtle differences from month to month. In future Daily Updates pages, I can simply link to that page, then get to the actual daily info quicker.

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April 14, 2015

Back in Jackson Hole: Just got off the plane. I am in the process of downloading 13,000 images from our week in Florida. Great trip!…yet happy to be home. We returned just as a winter storm was beginning to work its way into the valley.

Sanibel Alligator

Many of the photos at Sanibel were taken with a Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm. I’ve posted quite a few on this page already, but I plan on making a new Feature Page of Sanibel wildlife (and a few landscapes) taken with the combination. I am fairly certain you’ll enjoy both the subject matter, but also seeing some of the image quality of a very affordable long lens. It might take a day or two to go through the photos for that post. You can sign up to follow this blog to receive an email notification.

Wind River Range

Wind River Range: I took this photo out the window of our plane as it neared Jackson Hole. Early settlers on the Oregon Trail passed through the area south of this range at South Pass City.

The Valley Floor on Return: I had expected the valley floor to be even greener after a week in Florida. The National Elk Refuge was slightly greener than when we left, with a lot less elk roaming around. I saw a few bison on the ridge east of the airport. When flying in, I was amazed at how much snow is still in the high country, both in the Tetons and in the Wind River Range. Elk Mountain and the Snow Range still had some snow on the peaks, but much less than what we have here. I’ll try to get out a little for some more current wildlife reports this week. MJ

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April 12, 2015

On The Road: Still on Sanibel Island in Florida.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill: Yesterday, I added a few shots of animals that could be found both in Florida and in our corner of Wyoming. Today, I’ll add a couple we never see there. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Great Egret and Little Blue HeronGreat Egret and Little Blue Heron: There are Great Blue Herons both here and there. The smaller bird in the back is a “Little Blue Heron”. They are white for their first year, then turn dark blue. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Reddish Herons

Reddish Herons: These are some of my favorite birds. They are quite animated and photogenic. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Yellow Crowned Night Heron: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

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April 11, 2015

River Otter

River Otter: Even though I am 2000 miles from Jackson Hole, I found some animals I “could have seen” in Jackson Hole. These were all taken on Sanibel Island in Florida. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Eagle with Fish

Immature Eagle with Fish: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

White Pelicans

White Pelicans: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Osprey

Osprey: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

I had to go back into Fort Meyers today to buy an extra external hard drive. I’ve shot over 6000 images down here already! I’m downloading another card as I write this note. The condo we are staying in doesn’t have a wi-fi connection, making it difficult to add images from my laptop. I found out how to turn my iPhone into a mobile hot-spot and it seems to be working!

Hope you are enjoying the shots from “outside the region”! Cheers! MJ

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April 10, 2015

On The Road: I realize most people come to Best of the Tetons for images and info for GTNP, but hopefully you will allow me to show a few from Sanibel Island.

Big Sun

Big Sun: Taken with the Tamron 150-600mm and Nikon D4 at sunrise this morning.

Osprey

Osprey: Lots of birds here! (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican: We have White Pelicans during the summer in Jackson Hole. There are still a few at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve, but the pamphlet I read suggested the White Pelicans would be leaving the area soon. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

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April 9, 2015

On The Road: …continuted

Sanibel Sunrise

Sanibel Sunrise:

Palm Trees

Palm Trees and Morning Sun: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Sunrise

Sunrise: Ft. Meyers buildings can be seen in the distance.

White Ibis

White Ibis on the beach: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Ding Darling

Ding Darling: Adult and immature White Ibis. The larger one is a Great Heron., (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Spoon Bill

Roseate Spoon Bill at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican: Along the Beach (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Yellow-crowned Night Ibis

Yellow-crowned Night Ibis: From what I understand, these are difficult to photograph in the daytime. This one was at Ding Darling this morning. When I went back in the evening, the Park Service had the area blocked off. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Today in Sanibel: After seeing essentially gray, brown and old snow for the past few weeks, it is wonderful to see green grass and trees again! By the time we return, I am sure some of JH will be green. Ospreys should be returning soon, too. I wish I knew the official names of all the birds, but that’s a minor detail right now. I am taking photos of anything that looks good, has fur or feathers, or has more color than what I am used to seeing. I shot today with the Tamron 150-600 mounted on the Nikon D4. I have a flimsy tripod, so I left the lens in Tamron’s version of VR. I took lots of beautifully sharp images today and I had my share of terribly out of focus shots. I attribute it mostly to Pilot Error! I did quick edits on these images on my laptop. I don’t know how color correct they are, or if the exposure is accurate, but they should work for now. Tomorrow, I will add the new post with historic postcards showing downtown Jackson Hole in it’s early days.

Sorry, but I didn’t get any news from JH today. Cheers! MJ

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April 8, 2015

On The Road: We are on Sanibel Island in Florida. I was out early for the sunrise. Got a few nice shots, but didn’t do too well at Ding Darling Refuge this afternoon. It was nice here today, yet I heard it was snowing in JH.

I’ll take the Tamron 150-600 to the beach tomorrow morning and hope to get some birds.

People are seeing bears and owls in GTNP right now. Get out if you can! MJ

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April 6, 2015:

This morning, I did the Kelly loop, then up and down the Moose-Wilson Road. I saw lots of animals leaving the National Elk Refuge. Along the Gros Ventre Road, I saw numerous clusters of Elk along with eight or nine Pronghorns. Mule Deer were along the road in Kelly and a herd of around a thousand elk were milling around in the pasture next to the Kelly Warm Springs. Beavers have been busy on the Moose-Wilson Road. Sawmill Pond is as full as I have ever seen it, and much of the area below Sawmill Pond is now part of the Beaver habitat. It looks like they built a new lodge. I saw a Blue Heron in one of the ponds, along with lots of Robins and a few Red-winged Blackbirds. As always, the are looks prime for Great Great Owls, but I didn’t see any.

Winter Morning

Winter Morning: On my Kelly loop, I drove by the Mormon Row area at about the same time it started snowing heavily. I walked in to the T.A. Moulton Barn area (the road is still barricaded). I took a lot of photos in this kind of snow along Mormon Row. Instead of filling up this page, I’ll try to create a Feature Post with images from today. If you are not already a subscriber to this blog, now’s a great time! You’ll get a notice when I create the post. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

The photo above shows what Jackson Hole looked like this morning. By tomorrow afternoon, my wife and I will be walking on the beaches on Sanibel Island in southern Florida. During the week, I’ll try to post a couple of shots from there, but I will also try to add some JH comments. I am also planning another Feature Post for later in the week containing a nice assortment of early Jackson Hole postcards showing downtown Jackson in the ’40s-’60s. I believe you will definitely enjoy them. Again, now’s a great time to subscribe to this blog!

Blue Heron

Blue Heron on the Moose-Wilson road. This is a very tight crop of a 600mm shot out the window. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Town Postcards

I’ll be scanning each of these images for larger viewing in the upcoming Feature Post.

Yearling Mule Deer

Yearling Mule Deer: Actually, I took this image yesterday afternoon when trying to recreate the annoying vertical lines. After removing the clear glass filter, I started getting reliable results. This little Mule Deer had a lot of presence. It has apparently been through a few scuffles along the way. (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Here’s a link to the new post: Snow Day On Mormon Row:

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April 5, 2015:

Easter Moon

Easter Moon: I was at the right place at the right time this morning until I got the “knuckle ball” from Mother Nature. I was hoping to get the moon dropping closer to the mountains as the morning light hit the haze layer. The shot after this one revealed a cloud bank. A few shots later and the moon disappeared!

Cunningham Cabin

Cunningham Cabin: I hung around for the morning light.

Sun Flare

Sun Flare: Worth a shot!

Red Fox Portrait

Fox Portrait: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Red Fox

Winter Red Fox Vixen: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Icicles

Icicles:

Easter Morning in JH: I was up early for the full moon after seeing only hazy skies this morning. I took a couple of ladders and a couple of cameras to Cunningham Cabin for the setting moon “event”.  I was the only person there! After loading up, I headed on through the gate at Moran Junction, then up Pacific Creek, then to Oxbow Bend and the Dam, north to Colter Bay, and farther north to Flagg Ranch. On the way home, I drove out Buffalo Valley, then up Togwotee Pass to the lodge. Besides the Red Fox, I saw three moose, a couple of Turkey Vultures, several Grouse, and a bunch of elk still on the Refuge. I heard rumors of a couple more bears, but I didn’t see them.

Update on Tamron 150-600mm “chatter” issue.

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Tamron 150-600mm F/5.6-F6/3 Lens: I made a post at Nikon Cafe’s lens forum and included this image showing vertical stripes or what I was calling “chatter” in some of my backgrounds.

With Filter

With Filter: I recreated this issue today. Apparently, the clear glass filter I added to the lens is the culprit.

Without Filter

Without Filter: I removed the filter and repeated a lot of the shots I took earlier with the filter. This isn’t exactly the same shot, but I believe it would have shown the stripes. I took four or five hundred additional images without the filter and couldn’t see the problem in any of them.

Mule Deer Doe without clear filter

Mule Deer Doe without clear filter: Much better! You can read more about this on this page Tamron 150-600mm F/5.6-F6/3 Lens:

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April 4, 2015:

This Morning in JH: I set my alarm for 5:15 am, hoping to be able to photograph the “Blood Moon“. I checked the night sky and saw thick clouds. I could see a faint glow of a moon in the West, but I knew there would be no way of getting a clear shot of it. Clouds were also thick in the East. I went back to the warm bed! I checked again at 6:15 am. Back to the warm bed.

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Red Fox: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 420 mm, 1/1000 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 125.

As of 10:30 am, it is still gray and dull here in JH. I may head north and see if I can get lucky finding a Grizzly bear…or I might just go fishing!

Full Moon? Normally, the day AFTER a full moon is the better day to try to photograph it in the mountains. By definition, the full moon is going down at the same time the sun is coming up. But that works best when on the prairie. With the mountains on both sides of the valley, it takes the sun around 10 minutes to clear and the moon goes behind the mountains about 10-15 earlier. The main reason I would have gone out this morning would have been to get a chance for the blood moon (lunar eclipse). One more tidbit…There’s a formula for the maximum minimum shutter speed. Divide 450 by the focal length. On a 400mm lens, you shouldn’t go above roughly a second. Two seconds on a 200mm. 4 seconds on a 100mm. The night time photographers use that formula to attempt to freeze the stars. The moon is much closer than the closest stars, but on a moon shot, you are a trying to capture detail in the moon’s surface. Stars are usually only a dot of light.

Red Squirrel's New Coat

Red Squirrel’s New Coat: Moose are getting shaggy now, but it seems almost all of the fur bearing mammals are going through the same transformation. The foxes in the north end of the park are still nice and furry, but there’s much more snow there now.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco: This is a tight crop of a difficult bird to photograph. They stay back and are most often seen feeding on the ground.

Hairy Woodpecker Female

Hairy Woodpecker Female: I was about to come inside until I heard this bird’s distinctive chirp. All I had to do was wait until she came in close.

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee:

This afternoon in JH: I decided to save the gas today and stay a little closer to town. I drove to Wilson, then south on Fall Creek Road. It was cold this morning, but the weather report suggested highs in the mid to upper 40s. I fly fished on the Snake at one of the public access points along Fall Creek Road and did well. “Well” is a relative term in fishing, but in this case, I caught a lot of fish in a couple of hours. I was planning on driving all the way to the Hoback Canyon on Fall Creek Road, but had to turn around at the south end of Red Top Meadows. My source was incorrect earlier. The gate is closed and locked—and the sign says “Road Closed”.

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April 3, 2015:

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk: I dropped off some tax paperwork, then headed north for an afternoon in the Park. This hawk was near Oxbow Bend.

Griz Tracks

Griz Tracks: This set of tracks was made yesterday evening (while I was fishing near Wilson). It’s as close as I got to a bear today. This boar is reported to have a collar and weight 500 lbs. The tracks were impressive!

Alert Fox

Alert Fox: I managed to find three different foxes today. Nice to find them still on the snow.

Resting Fox

Resting Vixen: Same fox…different pose!

Reynard

Reynard: I’ve seen this fox hike it’s back leg to mark its territory on a couple of different occasions. I’ve heard a few people tell me this fox is a female, but after seeing the “behavior” and the “equipment” in this photo, I’m confident in suggesting it is a male. Female=Vixen, Male=Reynard.

Oxbow Bend was active this afternoon. As I drove up, there was an otter on the ice, several pairs of swans, plus lots of geese and ducks. An eagle flew over a couple of times. I saw a photo of the otter with what was left of the head of a sucker. If he ate the whole fish, I can see why he was finished feeding when I drove up. Earlier in the afternoon, I drove on up to Flagg Ranch. I stopped at the Snake River, rigged up my fly rod and caught a nice sized Brook Trout near the bridge. I was carrying my bear spray today! The grizzly that made the big tracks was first seen and photographed in that area.

Sleeping Indian and Rising Moon

Sleeping Indian and Rising Moon: I was set up at the Gros Ventre River, hoping to get reflections, but the angle was wrong. I took this image with my D4 and 200-400mm lens.

Full Moon

Full Moon: I took this shot from Gros Ventre Junction using the D800 and Tamron 150-600 at 600mm.

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April 2, 2015:

Old Patriarch

Last night, I stayed up until midnight working on this new Feature Post: While Most People Were Sleeping: I was tired this morning and opted to stay home. If things go well, I hope to make a drive up to Oxbow Bend this afternoon to look for Grizzly, Fox, and Otter activity. It has been a while since I was there and I am sure the snow levels will have dropped in the region. In the southern part of the park, I am sure more of the big game animals are working their way north and towards their summer zones. Check back later for any updates!

Munger Mountain

Afternoon Outing: We had a hail storm here in town this afternoon. I waited it out, then packed up. The light looked better in the south end of the valley than it did up north, so I changed “plans”. A friend of Darla’s drives a school bus to the end of Fall Creek Road. She recently mentioned seeing a “giant” owl flying across in front of the bus. Additionally, the road is now open to the south of Red Top Meadows so I can make a loop and end up back on the highway in the Snake River Canyon.

Fly Fishing

Munger Mountain:

I drove out to Wilson, then made a quick run north on Fish Creek Road. I found a few lichen covered stumps to use for the back yard birding. Afterwards, I headed south on Fall Creek Road. I stopped at one of the few public access points for the Snake River and made a few photos before the snow storm blew in. The storm lasted just long enough to freeze me out, especially after releasing a Cutthroat trout and getting my fingers wet. Information about Fall Creek Road is on this earlier post: Outside the Park: Alternative Places to Visit, Hike, Fish, and Photograph. While on Fall Creek Road and along the Snake River, I saw a Bald Eagle, half a dozen bull Elk with antlers, a Moose grazing beside the road, and three or four White-tailed Deer. I didn’t see any today, but the area often has foxes and owls.

The Pursuit of D.B . Cooper (1981) – IMDb. Here’s some trivia. Fall Creek winds through a few canyons, then drops towards the Snake River a half mile or so south of the Hoback Bridge. In the 1981 movie, the two characters went over the falls in a small boat. The actual waterfalls are on private property so we never get to photograph them. Someone built a house almost right on top of of the lower (larger) falls a few years ago.

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April 1, 2015:

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker: (Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens)

Photos and reports coming. For now, check out the daily updates of April of 2014 and March 2015.

April 1st is “Gaper Day” at the JH Mountain Resort. They’ll have gusty winds and highs around 42°F. The high mountains should get a new layer of snow from this front.

Blood Moon this weekend (via the Weather Channel). Another lunar eclipse is on tap for this weekend. The next one will not happen for 16-17 years. NASA’s chart for April 4.

Poonan Parihar Photography: I followed a back link to this blog to Poonan’s site. Her photos are “world’s apart” from what I do here, due primarily to her unique subject matter.  I believe you will enjoy them as much as I did. She has a wonderful “touch” and an inspired artist’s eye. MJ

Miss Rocky

Miss Rocky: Not long after I took this shot, I loaded up and did a “South Park” loop. I checked the Swan Pond at Boyle’s Hill. The ice has melted completely and swans are now swimming very close to the fence. The biologists added a couple of new feeders close to the parking area. A few of the Trumpeter’s were wild, while 18 or so are captive (damaged wings, etc).  I counted a couple of dozen Trumpeters and quite a few Mallard Ducks. After leaving the Swan pond, I continued the loop on South and then back to the highway looking mainly for foxes, plus show shoe hares, ermine, and so forth. Here’s a link with more info about the Trumpeter Swans of Boyle’s Hill.

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Please Note: All images on this site are protected by the US Copyright Office in Washington DC. No image may be used, copied, forwarded, or posted to an other site without permission and/or compensation to Mike R. Jackson. Also, no image may be used as source material for paintings, drawings, sculptures, or any other form of art with permission and/or compensation to

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Comments (2)

  1. Adam Brubaker

    Mike, I just read the post form the 24th where you believe you had a type of Wren. It looks like it may be a female Bluebird, it looks like you can see the faint blue in the tail feathers.

  2. Hi Adam, You could be right on this. There actually WAS a female Mtn. Bluebird in the tree next to this one, but this bird was much smaller. There was no way of establishing any sort of scale on an isolated bird, but I think it was too small to be a Bluebird. The blueish cast in some of the feathers threw me off, too. It was in one of the two or three trees just north of the junction taking people to the Kelly Warm Springs. There’s a pullout overlooking the sagebrush with the cluster of old Aspens. I have a feeling Bluebirds have a nesting hole there, because I see them around regularly.

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