Glacier National Park- Wildlife and Landscapes

We just got back last week from a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana with spectacular clouds and landscape views and some wildlife, but not very many birds. The Great Grey Owl and Northern Hawk Owl were hoped for but with no luck. The late winter and Spring are better for those but it was a great trip overall with temps ranging from 32 at night to about 68 for the highest. It snowed one day at the higher elevations above 7500 feet. Will post some more photos later.

LoganPass snow scene

LoganPass snow scene

Logan Pass, Glacier Nat Pk

Logan Pass, Glacier Nat Pk

Marmot gathering food

Marmot gathering food

2 Marmots

2 Marmots

Pika carrying branch

Pika carrying branch

Pika on rock

Pika on rock

sunrise_6863From  St Mary River, Glacier Nat Pk sunrise

A Bald Eagle flew over my head as the sun was rising and a Kingfisher was fishing in the stream but the landscape this time was the highest priority and I couldn’t change lenses.

Elegant Terns Feeding Young

tern_fish_5404feeding_tern_6201tern_feeding_6202Elegant Tern Feeding Young A Fishelegant_tern_feeding_5625

I knew that the Tern was feeding it’s young, but in order to get the actual transfer I had to start shooting before the adult landed. This paid off as I followed the bird in mid-air and fired multiple bursts as it came in for a landing with the fish. Always anticipate what your subject might do and don’t wait and miss that split second action or behavior. Keeping the subject in the finder and being ready to shoot makes the difference. These are actually 2 different pairs of birds but I was able to get what I wanted in 2 different sessions.

Bluff Lake, San Bernardino Mtns, CA

Western Tanager

Western Tanager, Male

Western Tanager, female

Western Tanager, female

Stellar's Jay

Stellar’s Jay

red_breasted_sapsucker_4628                                  Red-Breasted Sapsucker

Red-Breasted Sapsucker juvenile

Red-Breasted Sapsucker juvenile

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

 

We were up in the San Bernardino Mtns near Big Bear at Bluff Lake at 7600 ft and photographed the above species. The Sapsuckers are feeding on the sap of trees by cutting little squares in the bark and allowing the sap to flow, also attracting small insects, which they eat. The Western Tanagers breed here and we saw adults feeding insects to the young.

Burrowing Owl Juveniles

Burrowing Owl female with juvenile

Burrowing Owl female with juvenile

bur_owl_chicks_2828Burrowing Owl Juveniles burr_owl_chicks_2827Burrowing Owl Juveniles burr_owls_branch_3243Burrowing Owl Juveniles burrow_owls3_3222Burrowing Owl Juveniles

Burrowing Owls are becoming increasingly rare in San Diego Co due to loss of habitat and predators. This is the first time I was able to get the juveniles as they start to leave their underground burrows, often empty ground squirrel burrows. They primarily eat insects, mice, lizards, and  small rodents.

Owls and Great Blue Herons

Great Horned Owl chicks

Great Horned Owl chicks

 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owls

Barn Owls

Great Blue Heron nest

Great Blue Heron nest

Great Blue Heron nest

Great Blue Heron nest

Great Blue Heron nest

Great Blue Heron nest

Great Horned Owl Chicks

Great Horned Owl Chicks

 

Here are some recent photographs of Great Horned Owl chicks and Barn Owls. The unusual part is that they were in the same barn and coexisted. Usually Great Horned are dominant and will kill or chase away the Barn owls.

 

The Great Blue Herons are in tall pine trees near the coast and the young can fly but still hang around the nest to be fed by the adults. It is not smart to stand directly under the nest as the extensive “white-wash” on the ground is a warning.

Cedar Waxwings ” Masked Bandits”

Cedar Waxwing on Mulberry Tree

Cedar Waxwing on Mulberry Tree

cedar_berry4097                           Cedar Waxwing cedarwax_berry2250Cedar Waxwing on Mulberry

 

Every April a swarm of Cedar Waxwings swoop down on our Mulberry Tree. They are like little masked bandits who steal all the ripe berries within minutes and then fly to a nearby tree to rest after their gluttony. I have a blind set up in my backyard and can photograph them as close as 10 ft away without any reaction from them, but when I leave the blind a flock of as many as 30 birds instantly takeoff.