Monday, October 01, 2007

Idaho Trip 2007 - Day 6

23 August 2007 - Sawtooth Recreational Area of Idaho

Wow! What a fantastic sight to wake up to - the Sawtooth Mountains.

We wanted to explore some of the wetlands and lakes in the Sawtooth Recreational Area so we went to Cape Horn Marsh, Cape Horn Lake, Stanley Lake and Redfish Lake.

At our first stop at Cape Horn Marsh this little chipmunk went on full alert. When it chittered at us its tail would just about hit its head.

A Northern Harrier hawk kept us company for the first hour of birding on the marsh. It was really fun to watch it hunt. It flew low over the bushes and grass and would scream - probably to try to scare prey out into the open. It is also adept at hovering.

We saw quite a few northern harriers on our Idaho trip - what a treat.

A couple of elk were on the marsh as we were birding. These animals are very large!

"Who are you looking at?"

A new bird for Steve - sandhill crane, a pair of them. They always seem to be in pairs or small groups.

I had my first look at sandhill cranes in January when I was at the Florida Woodturning Symposium. I saw them again when Dennis and Gigi Laidler and John Wessels were traveling with me from Provo to Portland. It's still a thrill to see them.

A juvenile Red-tailed hawk.

Same individual, different view.

I can't figure out this sparrow. Anyone know what it is? Maybe a Brewer's?

Same individual, different view.

The Sawtooth Mountains from Cape Horn Marsh.

I think this one is a Chipping sparrow, but it's hard to tell.

White crowned sparrow - perhaps a first year?

Vesper Sparrow

White-crowned sparrow - nonbreeding plumage

Same one, different view

Vesper sparrow

Three-toed woodpecker - a life bird for me.

another view - this was a lucky sighting for me. I just happened to catch the motion in the trees and had enough time to put my binocular on it to see the yellow crown.

Prairie falcon - another life bird for me.

Dark morph of a Swainson's Hawk - Another life bird for me. This is turning out to be a very productive day.

We drove a few miles up into the mountains to reach this beautiful spot - Cape Horn Lake. It was so peaceful and rich with waterfowl. The bigger treat was that we had it to ourselves for the entire time we were there. What a treat!

Cape Horn Lake

Northern Harrier Hawk

Northern Harrier Hawk

The reddish color on the trees shows the damage from a bark beetle. Those trees are dying or dead.

What a beautiful lake. I really enjoyed the time we spent there. We had fun watching a gadwall diving. The water was so clear we could see it go all the way to the bottom. I never knew that gadwalls dive as well as dabble.

Our next stop was Stanley Lake with a beautiful view of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Stanley Lake

No comment, except that this was at Redfish Lake.

Another species of chipmunk

Same one, different view

I like the lighting on this one.

Stellar's Jay

I guess I never took photos of Redfish Lake. That's probably because it was a resort and full of people, boats, floats, people, and more people. We did find a trail with a stream that ran into the lake, and we did see the fish that give the lake its name.

This seemed like a good stream for dippers, but we didn't see any here.

Common Raven

It caught some big, juicy bug and flew off.

Clark's Nutcracker

We stopped at the overlook at Galena Pass. That sinuous track of green below is the beginning of the River of No Return, aka the Salmon River.

Galena Pass

A glacial cirque. This whole region was shaped by glaciers.

We decided to not stay in Stanley a second night and so we headed south to Ketchum. Unfortunately, there was a huge forest fire going on at the time and the edge of it went right up to Ketchum. The firefighters were camped right next to our hotel. This is just the northern edge of camp, which stretches about a mile to the south from here.

The smoke was pretty thick in the area and we woke up the next morning to a lot of it. I've a lot of respect and admiration for these people. They work so hard all fire season and have this to come back to at night.

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