November 1st we loaded up the trailer, cats, our gear and off we went. As far as Milk River, AB (not far) but awoke to 6 inches of snow in the morning. However the roads were melted, so we left for Great Falls. Here’s the view out the side view mirror, then again when we stopped a little later. Sorry I missed the Christmas card shot from our motel.
We camped in GF for the first time – the reason being, we can’t take perishables over the border, so had no supplies. The temp was just below zero and pretty wet, but all went well. Then on to Dillon MT where it was still pretty cool, but mostly sunny. Finally on to our 1st 3-day stop in Brigham UT where we stayed at our usual place – the Golden Spike. Here we finally got birding for the 1st time in 5 months! First ducks we saw were Red-breasted Mergansers – one of my favourites because they are so cute.
Only an experienced birder will recognize them, since they were taken “against the light” and can be identified mostly by profile, not their pretty coloring.
Some type of hawk was standing guard – we couldn’t identify it but thought it was effective: “impassable” (…when flooded).
We also saw a Peregrine Falcon fly by – 1st we’ve seen in a year. The swamp grasses are turning color and with the sunshine it was a beautiful landscape.
A female Ring-necked Pheasant dodged into the tall grass as we approached. Later we saw a male and female fly up from the road.
Speaking of the road, all along the road as we drove the auto loop, we saw American Pipits. Plain little birds, bobbing their tails – here’s one now.
While sitting at one location a Starling landed on our hood, hopped onto the side view mirror and gave us such a good view. They really are very handsom birds in their winter plumage.
We saw most of the ducks (still missing a few) but love the elegant Canvassback.
Next day we headed for Zion National Park – a beautiful place! We’ve stayed here before and it snowed – but this year temp’s are in the low 20’s, and it’s sunny and gorgeous! Being here on Saturday and Sunday makes a big difference regarding the number of people in the park. It’s packed! But we still walked and photographed. Birds were scarce. We finally saw a Dipper flying along the Virgin River, plus a Great Blue Heron – but that’s it! Holy Mackerel! Nonetheless, the colors are still changing here and the rock cliffs are beautiful.
On Sunday we returned to photograph the weeping wall – as well as some of the climbers of which there were lots – great weather plus sheer sandstone walls! Also happy to report we found Wild Turkeys (but that’s it for birds!).
Also saw lots of mule deer – this buck reacted to 2 others galloping nearby.
Now for some scenic shots.
Sometimes in the trailer, we have to spread things out. Katrina found these frypans on the couch.
Left for Holbrook, AZ Monday morning, the week of Nov. 13th, Jane’s birthday!