Great things are happening in the Conservation Outreach section here at the DWR. One of the most exciting things I’m working on, as the new events coordinator for the agency, is the upcoming Western Hunting and Conservation Expo.
My favorite part of the festival was the trip that went to the extreme southwest corner of the state to a place called Lytle Ranch. I was with a group of bird photographers and we were richly rewarded for our efforts.
One spring afternoon, I was tired of the usual targets, and I made an amazing shot on a beautiful robin in our cherry tree. After my momentary elation, what I had just done dawned on me. I killed momma robin. I sat and stared at the nest a foot or two from where she was perched.
Each summer, more than 60 employees from the DWR’s northern region spend a day together, improving wildlife habitat and a local DWR facility. In June of 2012, we held our annual workday at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Bear Lake cutthroat trout follow the same tributaries during their early-June spawning run. The tributaries to the reservoir are currently closed to fishing. Though the water is a little murky in June, you can still watch them in the river as they work their way upstream to spawn.
Every spring from early March until late April, male sage-grouse engage in a fascinating blend of dancing, vocalization and fighting. The fiercest males move toward the center of a clearing in the sagebrush, signaling upward climb in rank.
That night, waterfowl activity seemed to increase with the rising moon. Wild wings were everywhere! The drake pintails were handsome greeters with their tuxedo-like plumage. Green-winged teal introduced the show as they propelled like fireworks over the vegetation, and then down over the water. This evening, they were the supporting cast to the greatest and most literal Swan Lake performance!
Patchy snow dusted fifteen inches of solid, clear ice. By 1:00 p.m., the arm was dotted with ice fishing shelters, snow machines and both vacant and active fishing camps. Our friends new to ice fishing tentatively stood at ice edge and watched as some of us strode confidently onto the lake.
Just the other day I drove through an agricultural area near St. George and saw something I’d never expect in Utah: a white-tailed kite, sitting in a tree and begging to be photographed.
Fall is a transitional time for a biologist. It’s also one of my favorite times of year. The season begins amid a frenzy of fieldwork and ends with days behind the desk. The transition between these two modes of work is anything but gradual and naturally anything but boring.