Hunting the wild turkey in the spring is one of my treasured rituals. It’s the time of the year when I’ve stowed my ice fishing gear and I’m waiting for the lakes and reservoirs to open. Turkey hunting cures cabin fever.
As my eyes took in the side hill to the south, I noticed the white mustache and pointed ears of a mountain lion lying on a large boulder about 100 yards from where I sat. I didn’t see it move, and it was looking right at me so assumed that it had been watching me from the moment I arrived.
Participants were extremely satisfied with the experience—especially the opportunity to see these mysterious creatures in the flesh. There was also talk of how therapeutic it was to sit in the darkness and watch the stars from lawn chairs.
My charges include over 200 species of birds and dozens of mammals. Many of the latter (such as pygmy rabbits, American pika and northern flying squirrels) are poster children for cuteness. Most of our sensitive species can fit in your hand. One of these “sensitive” critters—and by far the largest of them—requires at least two people to handle: the California condor.
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.
Writing and wildlife: two of my favorite Ws. As a crafty, wild-haired seven-year-old, I once created a storybook about a family of bears, complete with illustrations and curly ribbon binding. I loved to get dirty outside, play with bugs and polish rocks. Now, as a technical writer for the DWR, I’ve taken it to the next level.
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!
I still recall the sight, sound and feeling as the beautiful white birds soared past and landed on the water before me. It’s difficult to describe the spectacle with words. Blue was barely visible as the sky filled with honking, fluttering geese, all looking for a place to land. I was awestruck.
Learning to fly is a process, not a single event, and almost all peregrines come down to earth at least a few times. And the downtown area is a difficult place to learn to fly. Everywhere you look, there are hard surfaces: asphalt, concrete, brick, metal, glass and motor vehicles.
As a wildlife photographer, I am always looking for an opportunity to get close to wild animals. Several years ago, when rumors started to fly about California Condors frequenting the Kolob area near Zion National park, I decided to investigate and see for myself.