Thursday, July 12, 2007

Utah 2007 - June 19; scenic drive through Wasatch range

Tuesday was a great day for doing a scenic drive in the Wasatch mountains. We drove from Provo over to Strawberry Valley and then back to the alpine scenic loop that goes by Sundance.

Our first stops were along Provo Canyon at some of the nice parks that line the river.

Dennis and Gigi saw their first white-tailed deer at our first stop as well as their first American Robin.

I don't know the name of this swallowtail butterfly species, but it was one of several beauties we saw during our outing.

We stopped to see bridal veil falls. Here is Gigi shooting pictures from in front of the old tram station that was taken out of operation after an avalanche sometime in the past decade.

Dennis was looking for the perfect viewpoint of the falls.

We saw a lot of prairie dogs this day.

This was some flycatcher - perhaps the Say's phoebe I spotted on June 19.

A mountain bluebird - a new one for me. What a beauty. It has a huge bug in its beak.

Feeding time at the nest box.

A western grebe on Strawberry reservoir.

Another life bird for me - an eared grebe.

A vesper sparrow.

Another cute prairie dog. They sure are fun to watch.

Here's Dennis having his first look at a snowmobile. "The snow really gets that deep each year?" He was asking about the posts and snowfencing along the roads.

These are cliff swallows gathering nesting mud.

Sundance, Utah as seen from the alpine loop road.

The Wasatch range is beautiful and the biome changes rapidly as you move up in elevation.

You can see some of the ski runs back there in the valley.

Dennis and Gigi had never seen this kind of habitat before. It was a real treat to show it to them.

Here's an avalanche track. Kind of gives one a perspective of the power this event has.

Yep, it's nice up here in the Wasatch mountains.

Dennis and Gigi taking it all in.

A woodcentral pic.

I'm not sure, but I think this is probably Penstemon cyaneus.

The aspens were glorious. Did you know that you're probably looking at a single plant here in this picture? Aspens are clonal, and they are among the largest organisms on earth.

The late afternoon sun makes these groves spectacular to visit. Dennis sure seemed to enjoy walking through here.

Here's another treat for the day. We flushed out a ruffed grouse as we were walking along the road. This one is probably a juvenile, and it was very upset to be separated from it's parent. It ran to the other side of the road while the parent stayed on the original one.

The vocalizations were pretty interesting.

We had to back off quite a long ways before this bird crossed back over to join its parent.

Gigi took a lot of macro shots of plants new to her experience.

Wow, lovely.

A picture just doesn't do justice to this landscape.

Here's a chipping sparrow. We saw a lot of interesting birds this day, including Gigi's first look at a hummingbird (probably a rufous).

No comments: