Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Day Two in Utah
On Tuesday night after checking in to the motel near Panguitch, Utah, I decided to take advantage of the remaining daylight and walk around checking out the birds. We were staying a few miles from town and the opportunity to search for birds was too great to pass up. And in that short amount of time I was able to photograph a few of the birds that were there. Mountain Bluebirds, a Sage Thrasher, a Red-tailed Hawk, and a couple of Black-billed Magpies made their presence known.
The next morning we headed north and east and I had a couple spots in mind to stop for birding and one of them was Otter Creek Reservoir. But on the way there we had to yield the right of way on the highway to a herd of sheep! You know you are in the country when that happens!
Otter Creek Reservoir is almost 5 miles long and one could spend the whole day there birding and with a spotting scope I am quite sure I could have found a lot more birds. Most certainly, I was not at all disappointed with what I found. Many of the birds were too far out in the water for photos, such as the American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Common Mergansers with young, and Clark's Grebes with young. At least one of the Clark's Grebe was close enough to get some identifiable photos.
Birds were also plentiful along the shores and in the vegetation surrounding the shoreline. Chipping Sparrow juveniles were very common as well as Lazuli Buntings. Also had a Yellow Warbler foraging in the short shrubs and some Black-billed Magpies scavenging around the picnic area.
Chipping Sparrow - Juvenile
After about 2 hours at the park, we had to move on as our goal was to arrive in Torrey, Utah before noon. Once we headed east on Highway 24 towards Torrey and Capital Reef National Park, at one point about 3 miles west of the small town of Loa, UT, I had to hit the brakes and turn around because of something that I noticed. Common Ravens were quite common everywhere along the roads and at first glance I thought just another raven, but as I got closer, I knew it was definitely something different; it was too big to be a raven. Perched in a short tree on the north side of the road was a majestic Golden Eagle. I got turned around and was driving back towards it as I wanted a photo of this beautiful bird perched, but alas, my camera strap got tangled in the seat belt of the car and the bird took flight before I could get untangled. So I had to settle for a couple of flight shots as it flew away. But what a magnificent bird this is. Was definitely the closest I have seen one in the wild.
After that encounter, everything else seemed a little less significant. But once I arrived in Torrey and found my relatives house, I had one more bird close out my amazing day of birds; a Pinyon Jay flew in to their property. Always a fun bird to find and see and unfortunately, I don't always find them in Arizona as often as I would like.
So ended day number 2 and some amazing birds.