All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rough-legged Hawk December 2010 Bird of the Month

My pick for bird of the month for December is our wintering Buteo the Rough-legged Hawk. Winter is raptor time in the valley of the Great Salt Lake, though the Swainson's Hawks have gone south for the winter the Red-tails, Harriers, Kestrels, Short-eared Owls, Great Horned Owls and even Barn Owls our permanent residents are more visible than any other time of year. In addition the Rough-legged Hawks, Merlins and Bald Eagles come from the North Country to enjoy our balmy winters.

Rough-legged hawks are abundant at Farmington Bay from November through March. I think they have  the most beautiful markings of any raptor under their wings as they soar overhead. 

The Rough-legged Hawk breeds in Arctic tundra and taiga regions around the northern hemisphere. 


  • Large Buteo.
  • Wings long and broad.
  • Flight feathers pale, with dark trailing edge to wings.
  • Black wrists marks.
  • Tail broad, white at base and broad dark tip.
  • Commonly pale, streaked chest and broad dark belly.
  • May be all dark, still with pale wing feathers and white at base of tail.

The name "Rough-legged" Hawk refers to it's feathered legs. The Rough-legged Hawk, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Golden Eagle are the only American raptors to have legs feathered all the way to the toes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Downy Woodpecker
In my opinion, some of the most beautiful birds are woodpeckers. On my life list I have been fortunate enough to have added several species, unfortunately I have not been able to photograph most of them. 
Woodpeckers I have added to my life list are... Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker red and yellow-shafted, Red-naped Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and most recently I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker during our trip to Europe. Of all of these I have only been able to photograph, Downy Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers. I am setting a goal of spotting several more species in 2011 and adding many more Woodpecker photos to my library. 
Here are some of the pictures I do have.
Female Downy Woodpecker
Male Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) male

Red-shafted Flicker; not a great picture but it does show the field marks.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Autumn Birding at Antelope Island

Hermit Thrush
Bonapart's and California Gulls
Frank Clawson and I took a trip out to Antelope Island Thursday one of my favorite places on earth. We had a wonderful time and saw some good birds though we missed the target bird, the Varied Thrush. For a couple of years I have gone out to Antelope Island hoping to see a Varied thrush. They have been reported there for several years. Last time I went in early September I did get the Northern Water Thrush finally but no picture.

Here is a list of birds and other wildlife seen on yesterday's trip...

Least Sandpiper
California Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Bonapart's Gull
Tundra Swan
Eared Grebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Bewick's Wren
Black-billed Magpie
Red-winged Blackbird
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Dark-eyed Junco
Hermit Thrush
Great Horned Owl
Other Wildlife...
Mule Deer

Here are some pictures.
Bonapart's, and California Gulls

Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike

Hermit Thrush

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl
Mule Deer
Mule Deer