A cedar waxwing breaks for a moment before resuming its feeding on crabapple fruit. cedar waxwings are found throughout north america during some point of the year. in northern utah they are year round residents, though my experience is that they are less commonly seen during the spring and summer months.
I was challenged awhile back to get a quail in midair - i don’t think this is what they meant! a male gambel’s quail, caught in mid stride, races across a gravel path for the cover of the nearby bushes. gambel’s quail are birds of the southwest, they mainly inhabit the sonoran desert of arizona and mexico but extend into california, utah, new mexico, and texas.
A tufted puffin takes flight, leaving its perch on the volcanic cliffs of st. paul island, alaska. tufted puffins are the largest of the puffin species. being the largest doesn’t make them really big, they stand approximately 15 inches (38 cm) tall and have a wingspan of approximately 24 inches (61 cm). i’m continually surprised by their size, they seem larger when observing them in their natural surroundings.
A juvenile red-tailed hawk attempts to catch a meal prior to the sun setting in northern utah. red-tailed hawks are large raptors found throughout north america. they make a wide variety of habitats their home. they are rodent specialists, generally taking animals ranging from mice to rabbits.
As the sun sets, a northern harrier attempts to chase a juvenile red-tailed hawk away from its territory in northern utah. after making several passes without success the harrier gave up and seemed to ignore the young red-tailed hawk as it continued to fly its back and forth pattern over its hunting ground.
A collared redstart stops briefly atop a lichen covered fence post while working it’s way along the edge of a field foraging for food. collared redstarts are new world warblers and are found in the highlands of costa rica and panama.
King vultures pause momentarily from feeding to check out their surroundings. it’s my experience that king vultures are quite wary and hard to approach, making them difficult to photograph. many thanks to jeff muñoz with @rainforest_photo_tours for making it happen!
A keel-billed toucan calls and stands tall on its rainforest perch. keel-billed toucans, often called rainbow-billed toucans, roam the rainforests of central america looking for fruit and small animals, insects, and eggs on which they feed. they are often seen in small groups.
A blue-winged mountain tanager prepares to take flight on its search for food in the cloud forests of ecuador’s andes. the blue-winged mountain tanager is a medium to large sized tanager species that feeds on fruit and insects. it is found along the pacific side of northern south america.
A drake wood duck floats alertly on a small pond in southern utah enjoying the early morning light. wood ducks can be found in all of the contiguous states of the u.s., though they are most common in the south eastern states. in my home state of utah, there are several areas where they are found year round.
A portrait of a hoatzin from the ecuadorian amazon. hoatzins are fairly large birds found throughout the amazon and orinoco basins. they are primitive birds with diminished flight. they are vegetarian birds mainly eating leaves.
A female northern harrier takes advantage of the last rays of sunlight as it makes an attempt at catching a vole in a grassy field in northern utah. northern harriers were formally known as marsh hawks. they are a medium sized raptors and the only harrier species found in north america.
A portrait of a horned puffin. horned puffins are the pacific counterpart to the atlantic puffin. they are about 20% larger than their atlantic cousin. horned puffins spend much of the year out on the open ocean coming to the grassy topped cliffs of islands and coastlines to breed and raise young. this photo was taken on st. paul island, alaska.
Chestnut-breasted coronet hummingbirds work out their differences on a moss covered branch in the lower andes of ecuador. chestnut-breasted coronets are a common medium sized hummingbird found in the humid montane forests of columbia, ecuador, and peru. like most hummingbirds they feed on a diet of nectar supplemented with insects.
A collared trogon perches in a mossy stump and, with its peculiar gaze, surveys its surroundings. trogons are typically tropical and subtropical birds found in the americas, africa, and asia. in the americas they can be found as far north as southern arizona. this individual was photographed in costa rica while photographing with jeff muñoz @rainforest_photo_tours
Snow has been piling up in northern utah and more is on the way! here an cautious male california quail ventures out of the bushes, leaving other members of its covey behind, to look for an area that it can scratch around in for seeds. california quail do well in urban environments taking advantage of cultivated gardens and flower patches where they feed on seeds and grains left behind.
A male evening grosbeak perches on an oak branch in northern utah before continuing to forage for food. evening grosbeaks are large finches that range throughout canada and the western u.s. they move around in small loose groups within their territory looking for seeds, nuts, berries, and insects.
A yellow-tufted woodpecker perches 10 stories up in the canopy of the ecuadorian amazon. the yellow-tufted woodpecker is a social bird living in the tropical and subtropical lowlands of south america. they are omnivorous but primarily feed on insects.
Late in the day a male northern harrier, often called the gray ghost, looks as though it’s giving me the eye, when in actuality, it’s scanning the area for voles. northern harriers are medium sized raptors that hunt the farm lands and rural areas for mice and voles making them very beneficial to man. i watched one for 45 minutes recently and in that time captured and ate 5 voles.
A male greater sage grouse stands guard over two well camouflaged females on a northern utah lek. beginning in march and continuing through april, greater sage grouse gather in communal areas known as leks where the males compete in front of females for the right to breed. these confrontations range from highly stylized displays to all out brawls.