From northern Arizona we entered southeastern Utah where our first birding stop was at Scott Matheson Wetland Preserve in Moab.
One of my birding joys is working on a "Photo Life List". Currently standing at 376, I love being able to add to or simply improve upon shots of each species.
This photo of an Ash-throated Flycatcher definitely upgraded the record of this bird.
Found these Barn Swallow chicks guarding the parking lot.
Kingbirds (this one I believe is a Western) always seem willing to pose cooperatively.
Marsh Wren calling lustily.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Next Birding stop was at Indian Cave State Park outside of Falls City, Nebraska. This fabulous campground (which we highly recommend) included spectacular views over the Missouri River as well as of some nice birds.
This shot of a Virginia Rail definitely upgraded my photo life list as well. Given the challenge of capturing one of these skulkers, it's my favorite photo of 2014 so far.
Next stop was Utah Lake State Park outside of Provo, UT. The place was covered with Midge Flys but the birds sure liked them!
Next we headed north to Estes Park, CO where we ran into the dramatic flooding. After being evacuated from our campground just before it went under water we took to higher ground for a night. The next morning we "got outta Dodge" via the only road available. Highway 34, Trail Ridge Road, up and over Rocky Mountain National Park.
Yellow-headed Blackbirds were all around our campsite.
Next up was another favorite place called Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge outside of Brigham City. Of the hundreds of places in 48 states we've been birding over the last 3 years this spot is on my top ten. It consists primarily of a 12 mile one-way loop road and is outstanding for photography.
I hope you'll agree.
Another upgrade was this shot of a handsome Clark's Grebe. This species is most easily distinguished from a Western Grebe by the eye being surrounded by white instead of black.
It almost seems this Forster's Tern is admiring it's own reflection.
Cliff Swallows are abundant throughout the refuge.
Normally I don't publish multiple shots of the same species of bird from the same place.
But with this sequence of American White Pelican photos I couldn't resist.
American White Pelican - Didn't realize they had such blue eyes!
My new favorite photo of the year.
After thoroughly enjoying Moab, the Colorado River and especially Arches N.P. (see travel pages) we moved onto Capital Reef N.P. where we stayed in Torrey.
From there we ventured west to visit Bicknell Bottoms Waterfowl Management Area. There, after trying to call out a Sora, out popped this Virginia Rail for an excellent look!
Marsh Wren. Love the way they hold their tails up.
...and here's the more common Western Grebe. Note the black surrounding the eye.
Off next to Idaho and Oregon...