Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A busy Memorial Day Weekend

It has been crazy busy here and now I am behind on the blog, so this entry is actually two blogs in one. On Memorial Day, Fred and Becky joined us for a picnic trip to the Greys National Wildlife Refuge. The next day we made a quick trip to Grand Teton National Park with our friend George as he had not yet been there this year and wanted to see a grizzly bear. Both trips were successful!

It was the earliest we have been to the Greys Refuge and the timing was exactly right! The birds have all arrived and the Sandhills and Yellow headed blackbirds were exhibiting their courtship behavior.

Right away we spotted a sandhill crane pair and the male was dancing his dance going around and around the female crane.

She pretty much ignored him and continued to feed, finally responding with a little bill slapping before returning to feed.

A cow decided to photo bomb us and blocked the pair of sandhills.

Next, we drove to the lookout point, where we watched as a group of male sandhills getting into a ruckus of calls trying to outdo each other.

 As we left the hilltop, a spruce grouse popped up and posed for us, but the light was wrong and so we did not get to see him spread his tail feathers, however Becky did spot his behavior.

Fred was also unable to get a picture of the tail feather display but at least we were able to see the bird.

At another small pond a northern shoveler paddled while a horse appeared to watch.

Continuing down the road, a red-tail hawk hunted and we were able to get several good images as he flew and then posed on top of a power pole.

 Next we saw a Swainson's Hawk

and then a little further and two female yellow headed blackbirds fought a bit before flying away.

We saw several more red-tailed hawks before we reached the spot where both sides of the hill are flooded. This year we again saw the usual male yellow headed blackbirds as they displayed their colors and hoping to attract a female. One did hook up with a female but we missed a picture of the event.

Suffice it say it was quick, much quicker than the Great Blue Heron displays we saw down in Texas. A floc of white faced ibis landed near us.

Their spring color includes a glossy color and sometimes they mate with glossy ibis so their hybrid off spring can cause confusion. More birds that made an appearance included a long billed curlew, a willet, and a Wilsons Phalarope. 

Menawhile a pair of cinnamon teal waddled across the road.

Latter we stopped a on hillside to glass the refuge and Renita and Becky both spotted moose. They were far away but they were obviously moose, and it was the first time we have seem then there, (there were three).

We did not see any elk, but we did see several doe mule deer. Our last stop of the day was for a picnic lunch at a National Forest Campground along Tin Cup Creek. It had been another good day of birding and it was the first time we had seen sand hill crane dancing!

The next day we headed to Grand Teton National Park, this time looking for bears. Hitting all the usual spots we did not see any bears. Stopping for lunch at Sargent Picnic Area we drove back south and there was a grizzly bear near the parks dump.

A member of the bear team told us it was feeding on a carcass and that the park had moved the carcass further form the road. The reason for this was to protect the bear from all the people.

The bear finished on the carcass and decided it had posed enough for the day. Before leaving the field, it answered the old question of where a bear relieves itself, anywhere it wants to. I will leave the picture unpublished but suffice it to say it was a large scat!

We did not see any more bears, just the usual elk, but it had been another successful day of bear hunting. George got to see his first grizzly of the year! Clear skies


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