Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Birders Who Blog Tweet and Chirp

A fluid group that meets wherever Dawn Fine (@DawnFine on Twitter) happens to be in her travels with "Homey".  See Dawn's great blog if you haven't: (Bird lists for the day are there!)
On October 15th 2011 I was privileged to be able to join the excellent group birders & photographers that convened in Wilton Connecticut.
In the beginning was the parking lot.
We met at Allen's Meadow.
A community garden and small meadow.
Our fearless guide Luke Tiller stalks the meadow for birds.
 There were more birds in these gardens and small meadow than one would imagine. Our avian friends flock to any small wild space. Garden! Turn your lawns into meadows!

Welcome wildlife.

To our gardens!

The big rig!
Many types of sparrows were generously pointed out to me..Savannah, Swamp, Vesper..the last two were life birds. As was a Blackpoll Warbler. The only sparrow that willingly posed for me tho' was....

And I was grateful.

The gardens were home to many Goldfinches..and to my delight I witnessed a Momma and a fledgling. I had never seen a fledgling Goldfinch.

Feed me Momma!

If you insist
A little brush stroking here, for a soft-focus shot,
but I am sharing it because I adore the pose!

@birdspot & @birdinggirl catching up

Black Capped Chickadee catching some morning rays

Enjoying breakfast.
Our group then moved onto a Starbucks break in downtown Wilton CT., then across the street and over a bridge to Schenks Island..another small oasis for life. I saw my first juvenile Cedar Waxwing and a Dickcissel was spotted by many as a life-bird. I only got bottoms up..

The Big Year?
Beautiful but invasive Porcelain Berry
A Cairn leads the way
as we head to lunch
and then to our last stop for the day.

Sherwood Island State Park, on the Sound
Trying to scare up a Salt Marsh Sparrow
Got a great look at a Peregrine Falcon in flight..and a closer look at another life bird..a Palm Warbler.

And listened to a Mockingbird

By then, we were winding down.
Thanks glowing Dawn!

Monday, October 10, 2011

In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods: Grand Teton National Park

The Teton fault runs between the mountains and the plain.
View from Jackson Lake Lodge.

The Tetons appear not  real, but surreal..surely a mural painted by an artist to amaze..But no, they have been conjured up instead, by millions of years of geologic forces. The rocks making up the Tetons are very old, but the mountains are compartively new..10-13 million years.

Lenticular clouds

The San Andreas fault currently marks the boundary of the North American and the Pacific plate, but 150 million years ago, the Farallon Plate first subducted beneath the North American plate, producing the Rockies..this subduction ended about 55 million years ago.
Morning mist rises from the Snake River
The vocanism produced by this subducted plate, created residual heat, eventually causing the North American plate to stretch and crack..The Teton fault is one of those cracks.. As the land was pulled apart, the mountains rose along the fault and the valley sank.

The ice age, beginning 2 million years ago, and the Little Ice Age 1350-1850 AD, further shaped the range. A glacier is seen in Mount Moran below:
Mount Moran and the Sagebrush plain from Willow Flats turnout.
This high country became the last refuge for American Bison, Grizzly Bears, wolves and Native Americans for thousands of years.
The Bison are back
They direct traffic.
And  share the plains with Pronghorn Antelope.
There are more Pronghorns than people in Wyoming.

The antelope were in the "Antelope Plains". Nearby were the remains of a 19th century Mormon settlement.

On the buildings and in the fields behind,
Mountain Bluebirds as blue as the sky.
Bye Bye

The Oxbow Bend of the Snake River. An anglers paradise.
 I saw moose and eagles here, from a distance.
Down by the River
Dragon Flies enjoying a dance.

Another beauty. ID help appreciated!
A Bronze Copper I think.
Fritillary. Not sure what kind.

The view from Signal Mountain clearly shows the Sagebrush plains, and the kettle ponds, a glacial feature produced when chunks of ice break off glaciers & later melt.
Find the Mule Deer on Signal Mountain.
Here I am.

Sunset from Signal Mountain looking towards the Absaroka Range,
 volcanic mountains older than the Tetons.

Sunset at Oxbow Bend
Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street. ~William Blake