Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Into Canada

Many miles since we left Yellowstone, we spent 2 days at Glacier National Park.  Saw may Bighorn Sheep, many were with lambs.  Not like this one that was on the streets of Waterton in Canada. We found Mountain goats high on the rocky crags. many elk, mule deer, and the highlight 2 huge Grizzly bears interacting high above our campsite.

Drove up to Red Rock Canyon, saw 2 coyotes, one digging in the top of a beaver lodge.  At the beautiful canyon's fast moving stream, watched Am. Dipper plucking moss and flying into the rock crevices nest building.  Lower in the creek were a pair of Harlequin Ducks feeding in the fast water.  The drake in beautiful nuptial plumage.

Seeing many beautiful waterfalls like the one here at Waterton camp grounds.  Lots of snow adding to
the flow.  Some of the western birds we added were:  Steller's Jay, Rufous Hummingbird, Varied Thrush, Townsend's Solitaire, Townsend's Warbler, and Dusky Flycatcher.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yellowstone National Park

Spent a beautiful day exploring Yellowstone Park. Driving south from Livingston, Montana where we are visiting Ty's brother, we found our first Grizzly Bear eating grass in the meadow.  We found many bison, some with calves, and Elk plus 1 Bighorn sheep on the hillside.

We walked many of the walks seeing geysers, paint pots, cauldrons, and other hot springs.  We waited with the crowd for Old Faithful to explode with water.  The crowd was betting on what time it would happen.  What a beautiful geyser!

We couldn't believe how much snow there was, all campgrounds closed with 5 to 10 feet of snow in them.
On the way back we saw hundreds of Elk, Mule Deer and White-tails, plus 2 additional Grizzlies.

Saw only a few new birds: Clark's Nutcracker, Red Crossbills
Harlequin Ducks and a few other other western birds.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nature Notes on the Road

Followed the River Road along the Mississippi River.  The bluffs and river are always an enjoyable route to travel.  The red bud trees were in beautiful bloom throughout the forests.

What makes wildlife watching exciting is observing the unexpected i.e diurnal viewing of mammals.

Today at Crex Meadows we observed during the day - Beaver swimming in pond, a fisher crossing road in front of us and a gray wolf in an open field being harassed by a  dive bombing sandhill crane.  At 4 am the marsh was alive with a cacophony of marsh music cranes, barred and great horned owls, bugling trumpeter swans, drumming ruffed grouse and numerous American bittern "pumping".

Left Wisconsin to N. Minnesota and the Sax-Zim Bog where we watched Black-billed Magpies going in and out of  their huge twig nests. Lots of warblers.

Into N. Dakota where we found migrating shorebirds that we missed in Wisconsin.  Especially fine were the Am. Avocets.  Now on to Montana!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Finally on the road!

On our second day of retirement we are in Madison for a visit with Troy and his wife Carmen.  We had a wonderful last bird walk at the Wildlife Sanctuary seeing 22 species of warblers and a surprise sleeping Whip-poor-will on the trails plus a slow ride through Horicon Marsh and a stay at Devil's Lake State Park were our first day.  It's great to not have to hurry and no time limit except daylight.

Thanks to all our friends for many great cards and send offs, we will miss you all.
Now it's westward ho!  We feel like pioneers exploring the new and beautiful creation all around us.  Thanks for your prayers!   Ty & Ida