Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sunrise Sage Grouse Fun

Last weekend we were up early (3 am to be exact!) to join a group outing to a sage grouse lek (mating grounds). I've only seen the sage grouse mating ritual once, and was excited to witness it again. After a hour and a half drive, we made it to the lek just before sunrise. We were able to park within 50 feet of the birds and watch the males strut and perform their mating display. I didn't record their call, however, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an example posted on their site here:
If you would like to watch the display, this links to a video on -
Sage grouse can use the same mating grounds for hundreds of years! This male wasn't intimidated by the cars at all and came very close to us.

Since it is the end of the mating season, some of the younger males were on the lek. Occasionally they would either be chased off by the older males or fight.

This male is performing the mating display by puffing out air sacs in its chest.

The outing was organized because the Owyhee Initiative just passed protecting a large area of land in southwestern Idaho. If you are interested, more information about the initiative can be found here:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Foto Friday

Happy Friday all!

Yesterday we spotted the first baby geese of the year and will be out with the camera this weekend attempting to get some good photos. Look for those in a future post. I can't wait to see the baby wood ducks, and if the geese are hatching it won't be too much longer until the baby ducks will be hatching too!
Since I have wood ducks on the mind, I'll just go ahead and post a photo of a male wood duck for today's photo. They are one of my favorite ducks. Just look at how colorful they are!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

In celebration of Earth Day I am posting some landscape shots to motivate everyone to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. :) Luckily the weather here in Idaho is perfect for spending time outside today, and I plan on going outside to take advantage of it!

Photo taken during a three day backpacking trip in the Seven Devils Mountain Range in central Idaho. The scenery was breathtaking and well worth all the hiking.

The Sand Dunes National Monument near Alamosa, Colorado. The climb to the top of the dunes is brutal, but completely worth it, as you can see from the view.

Cherry Creek State Park in Denver. I love the sun rays in this one!

This photo was taken in the Grand Canyon during a 3 mile morning hike.

If you did anything fun for Earth Day, I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Waiting for the Hummingbirds

Happy Foto Friday!

The trees are starting to turn green and the tulips are pushing up through the ground. Soon it will be time for the hummingbirds to arrive! I love watching them zip around the garden. Sometimes they are brave enough to fly around my head so close that I can hear the sound of their wings humming. This year I plan to plant a row of flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to. Hopefully we will be able to capture more photos like the one below. :) I wish everyone a wonderful weekend! The weather in Idaho will be beautiful and I will be outdoors enjoying every moment!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Road Less Traveled part 2

So, I am finally posting part two of our mini road trip. Took me long enough, right? :)

We were driving through a wooded area, rounded a bend and this was the scene that stood before us. Spectacular!


I like how the desert landscape abruptly ends in the photo below. If you were able to look down from this vantage point, you would see a shear cliff with water at the bottom. The water was so far below us, I was afraid to even get out of the car!

As well as viewing amazing scenery, we were also able to see a number of bird species. When we spotted this little mountain blue bird we stopped the car in the middle of the road to watch it. That's how little traffic there was!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Foto Friday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Foto Friday!!

First off, I have been meaning to post part two of the Road Less Traveled photos. However the flu swept though our household and I didn't get to it. Hopefully, I'll have those photos up in the next few days. I'm really excited to share more of our mini road trip with everyone!

This morning I awoke to gray cloudy skies and rain. A typical spring day. While looking at the clouds, I was reminded of a photo taken last fall while my husband and I were in Alnwick, England. So, guess what? That's the photo I chose for Foto Friday!

This is a photo of the Alnwick Castle in Alnwick, England. The Percy family has called this castle home since 1309!! If you would like to read more about the castle, here is the link. It was an absolutely amazing place to visit!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Foto Friday!

It's Friday! You know what that means, right? Time to welcome the upcoming weekend with a photo.

Ok, so I cheated. I couldn't pick which kestrel photo I liked better, so I am posting two for today's Foto Friday. :)

I think kestrels are such colorful and beautiful birds. They are easily seen on power lines in our area, however sneaking up on them to take a photo close up is impossible. However, the MK Nature Center in downtown Boise has two kestrels that I believe were injured and are not able to be released back into the wild. We occasionally walk to the nature center to see them. The day these photos were taken the lighting was perfect making the cage netting invisible.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

I love looking at the map, choosing a road I've never driven down before and just going. That's what we did this past weekend. The road we took started out as pavement in a desert setting, but soon changed to a dirt road winding through the most beautiful scenery. Wildlife abounded. We saw antelope, deer, elk, a mink, golden eagle, bluebirds, marmots, and other birds. The landscape was so beautiful, we pulled the car over numerous time to take some photographs.

This first photo was taken near a small town, too small to even be on the map, called Prairie.

This photo was taken near Arrowrock Dam. I love all the different types of landscape that can be seen here - snowy mountains, brown buttes, the green of the river banks, and the desert-like foreground with sagebrush.

More photos to come later. Stay tuned.