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Unsightly scavengers worth seeing

Unsightly scavengers worth seeing

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.


Large, colorful cutthroat trout at Strawberry

Large, colorful cutthroat trout at Strawberry

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.


It’s time for sage-grouse to strut

It’s time for sage-grouse to strut

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.


Crazy about critters

Crazy about critters

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.


Wild wings everywhere

Wild wings everywhere

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!


Nature’s extravaganza in the sky

Nature’s extravaganza in the sky

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.


Fun at the Winter Bird Festival

Fun at the Winter Bird Festival

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.


Peregrines take flight

Peregrines take flight

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.


Close encounter with a condor

Close encounter with a condor

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.


Bighorns on the hillside

Bighorns on the hillside

The Sunnyside bighorn herd consists almost entirely of rams, which number around 25, depending on the day and year. This particular group of bighorns is accustomed to both vehicle traffic and humans, and can often be observed and photographed at close range.


Winter conditions for mule deer

Winter conditions for mule deer

Division biologists from the Southeastern Region have been monitoring winter conditions and possible effects on mule deer populations. Up until a few weeks ago, the region had received perodic snow storms, followed by warming temperatures or rainfall.


Underwater paradise

Underwater paradise

During my undergraduate studies at the University of Mississippi, I had the opportunity to participate in a study-abroad program in Belize. It was a month-long study of the coral reef ecosystem and the fishes near an island off the coastline.