Body hurts, eyes red and very exhausted, I must be in Sin City! Most of that condition is due to non-stop birding since we arrived – the rest of the time, well, as the say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. The birding front has been incredible. Already +22 for the Average Year (link here – not updated yet) with a number of lifers in the mix, all of which will assuredly be featured here sometime in the future. Meanwhile, I wanted to get the 2nd part of Brad’s Yellowstone adventure out to you.
Take it away Brad…
In the last episode our intrepid travelers had arrived in Yellowstone National Park in June. It was June . . . remember that. There was a blizzard on the first night. They scraped snow from cars, endured closed roads, saw geysers, bison, birds, rotten egg smells, etc.
Now you are up to date. Time to continue on after our second of three nights in the park. This is our last full day at Yellowstone. Here’s the map to help set the stage again. (It’s a big one a takes a few seconds to open.)
It is still mid-June in Yellowstone. Another 4” of new snow fell overnight (second night in a row) at Lake Lodge, though much more snow fell in the higher elevations. Again. All of the park roads were closed until about 10am. When some of the roads were finally opened and the car was cleared of snow (same benefit card snow scraper) we headed to Fishing Bridge a few miles up the road. However, when we arrived, there was only one car in sight with the ranger inside her car frantically waving and yelling for us to stay in our car. After about 10 minutes, she came out of the car to check the area. She motioned it was OK for us to get out now. We learned she was in her car because a grizzly sow and her cub had ambled through about 30 seconds before we arrived. Their tracks were still visible in the early morning snow.
We walked out onto Fishing Bridge to get a view up and down the waterline. We’d only been there a few moments when this pair of American white pelicans went flying by.
Hit the jump to learn more about Brad’s Yellowstone adventure.
Well, we are officially off to the West. During our absence, I am turning the keys to the Intrigued Headquarters over to Brad. He will be keeping you entertained while Linda and I quest for the Holy Grail…eh, more like a bird or two or fingers crossed 20. Figured this would be a perfect time to roll out one of his two-parters from probably my favorite destination – Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy!
Take it away Brad and remember, no mega-parties at HQ until AFTER the work is done …
Many years ago, our family (Jan, Allyson and I) took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. You may remember me telling you that our daughter Allyson didn’t want to spend so much time looking at rocks in this prior post. Based on the pushback from a tweenager, I only booked three nights at a lodge in the park, giving us two full days for exploring. Accommodations inside the actual park are limited and usually fill up 8+ months in advance for summer visits. Two full days is by no means an extensive amount of time in Yellowstone (we still drove hundreds of miles inside the park and barely saw anything, IMHO). Taking the advice of a fellow traveler, photographer, and friend, we had flown into Salt Lake City and rented a car for the drive to Yellowstone. Our trip was in early June, hoping to miss most of the tourists with their kids still in school. We approached from the west entrance through West Yellowstone in Montana. Literally within a few minutes of the park rangers checking our annual park pass, we stopped along the road and were greeted with this view.
Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Yellowstone experience.
Greetings everyone. Sitting here in our dentist parking lot waiting for Linda to finish getting some work done. How times have changed as now I actually long to sit in a real “waiting” room vs being cooped up in a vehicle. Looking at the positives, this situation is quite conducive to cranking out a post. We are still in the “fresh” post part of the week putting the focus on more recent outings. While perusing the options in the queue, noticed that I left everyone hanging on the third part of the latest Eagle experiences at Davenport lock and dam. Along with the traditional shots (link here) and the action shots (link here), promised you some highlights of new behaviors seen above the water. The Eagles were quite active that day showing off their skilz for the dozen or so photographers lined up to see the show.
A quick recap to get everyone in the mood. First relax the legs and line up the approach.
Then cock the legs to prepare for the impact.
Finally stab to break the water’s surface.
Hit the jump to read about my new experiences that day – one was quite comical.
Well, as of 4:00pm today I am officially on holiday break from work until 2012 – WOOT. Of course, that really just translates to two extra days of standing in long lines at local merchants trying to finish up the gift list. Fortunately, that activity can start LATER in the morning so no need to get up at the ass-crack of dawn for the commute to the office. This month was dedicated to shots from our recent Yellowstone vacation. So far we’ve covered the Trumpeter Swans (link here), Mergansers (link here) and two posts covering those scary Ravens (link here and here). We’ll get to the big game soon enough, but today brings us a true American icon… The Bald Eagle.
I have had the opportunity to photograph the eagle a number of times now, both locally as well as up in the Quad Cities along the Mississippi River. I was excited to hear that they were out in the Yellowstone area as well. The first day we saw one from a distance gliding around, but the second to last day produced a great opportunity. We were heading back to our room towards the end of the day when we passed by a small valley. A glint of white from the trees caught my eye. Hoping I was right, I had Linda turn back for a closer look.
Did you see it? (having it centered in the picture makes it pretty easy, but against the full backdrop of the woods it was definitely harder to locate). The shot above is a pulled back shot with the Beast which starts at 200mm so you can guess how far away this eagle was from the road. However, This is exactly where the Beast shines. Pulling the bird in to the full 400mm gives a MUCH better shot of this awesome bird.
And there it sat keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings. I was actually shooting out the back window of the SUV trying to use the window frame to steady the lens. The initial shots were producing a lot of blur likely due to the engine vibrations coming through the vehicle frame. To adjust for that, Linda shut the car off. that dampened it a bunch, but that distance just amplifies any movement
Heck, why don’t we just pull that shot in a little more!
Hey, we made it to another year in spite of Nostradamus. A few quick edits a new edition through the press and they will be good for at least another year of doomsday prophecy. I hope everyone had a safe and fun Eve and kept the roads dry for the safety of others. It is another year and true to my previous summary, I am going to continue with this little side project for sometime longer. Keeping with my new goals (it is still early in the resolution season), today’s topic is more graphic. Actually, it was so graphic the post was broken into two parts. Unfortunately, the second part has some images of graphic violence but I think they you will still like them unless you are from PETA and don’t understand that violence in nature exists every day – hunter vs. prey has been around since the world decided plants taste like crap.
On the first day of 2009, I bring you America’s Pride:
While Linda and I were in Davenport, IA over the holidays, we stopped down at the Bettendorf locks to snap a few shots of these majestic birds. Every winter they migrate down (think that is right) to the Quad Cities area to feed off the Mississippi River. It is absolutely stunning to witness these birds first hand and not have to look at an injured one through glass or chicken wire. It is obvious they know they are at the top of the flighted foodchain. Here is a view from the side that gives a better perspective of the weapon that obviously demands respect wherever they roam.
Since I have a lot of pictures today, I’ll go ahead and let you follow the jump to see the rest of them instead of overwhelming my home page.