Posts Tagged ‘Audubon’

            “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles” Tim Cahill

My morning walk with old birding friends on Two Rivers Trail began here beneath Ogden’s 21 Street Bridge across the Ogden River. — Photo by Pat Bean

But First, Bird Watching on Two Rivers Trail         

Along with seeing that great Southwest bird overhead, everyone also got a very close-up view of this juvenile great blue heron. — Photo by Pat Bean

    “Hey! Did you see that big bird with silver wings and a red tail?” asked Jack Rensel, whom I know is as old as this wondering wanderer, but whom looked as young as ever and was still carrying his birding scope and tripod over his shoulders as we walked the Two Rivers Trail early this morning.

“You mean the Southwest bird,” someone quickly jibed.

It felt ever so good to be back among my old bird-watching friends after a year’s absence.  Jack and Keith Evans, whom I also got to see this morning at the bird-walk breakfast, were my mentors and my reference sources back when I was writing a birding column for the Ogden newspaper.

It’s a good thing one or the other of them was always available, as I was a novice birder at the time and hated making a fool of myself in print.

My birding skills have improved since those days, and so has Ogden’s trail system.

The river was still this morning, making it the perfect canvas for landscape reflections. I especially liked this double bouquet of yellow blossoms. — Photo by Pat Bean

Good for me and good for Ogden.  The city has grown since I left it eight years ago, but the Wasatch Chapter of birders that I left behind hasn’t changed at all. It’s still the best Audubon group I’ve ever had the privilege of birding with.

I hated to leave this group of awesome birders early,  but I had miles to go before I could sleep.  I’ll tell you a bit about those miles tomorrow.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is now up to 44,916 words. Still inching along like a snail.                

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day

Bean’s Pat Cliffy http://tinyurl.com/8e4ghhd  Today’s arm-chair travel blog made it to the top of my list today simply because it looks like an intriguing place to sit and drink a Jack and Coke. Should I put it on my ever-growing to-do list?

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 “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare

Favorite Places: Sardine Canyon, Utah

A sunny fall day in Sardine Canyon. I snapped this photo while up the canyon on an Audubon field trip. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It was January 1971 before this native Texan saw a snow storm, unless you count the piddling snow fall that Dallas gets about once every four years.

My family had just moved to Logan, Utah, where snow stays on the ground sometimes from December to April, which it did this year. I gave up driving because I was a wimp, walking instead the half-dozen blocks to my job at Utah State University.

Then came the night that I got an unexpected call from my brother, who was paying me a surprise visit and wanted me to pick him up at the Salt Lake City airport, 80 miles from Logan – and in a snow storm .

My southern belle hospitality personality clicked into place and I said “Sure!”

The 160-mile round-trip took hours, and I almost ran off the road in Sardine Canyon between Wellsville and Brigham City. I was using the edge of the road as a guide, and suddenly the edge disappeared, eaten by a snow slide that came close to blocking the entire road.


One of the many small creeks, fed by snowpack, that flow down from the mountains in Sardine Canyon. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve driven Sardine Canyon many, many times since. And having an inquiring mind, I asked: “How did the canyon get such a fishy name?”

Nobody knew.

The most common guess was that travelers to the valley had sardines for lunch and left the cans along the way as trail markers. Coming in second was the suspicion that it had been named because of the small fish that packed the canyon’s creeks.

And then came the knowledge that the canyon everyone referred to as Sardine was actually Wellsville Canyon – and always had been.

Sardine Canyon, which the settlers actually did use, is located south of Wellsville next to Mount Sterling. Even those who know this, however, continue to call the larger canyon Sardine. Perhaps it’s because, fishy sounding or not, the name still carries more romance in its character than plain old Wellsville.

Whatever name it goes by, this Northern Utah canyon route, also called Highway 89/91 is awesome to drive. If you every get to do so, hopefully it’ll be a sunny day.

Bean’s Pat: frizztext: Aurora Borealis http://tinyurl.com/6uq7hmx I’m a suck for aurora borealis photos. Seeing one in person is high on my To-Do list.


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 “I consider myself to have been the bridge between the shotgun and the binoculars in bird watching. Before I came along, the primary way to observe birds was to shoot them and stuff them.” — Roger Tory Peterson

Travels With Maggie

Nothing could be finer than an early morning outing with fellow birders of the Wasatch Chapter of Audubon. Ever since I seriously began birding, which was back in 1999, the chapter has had a Wednesday morning bird walk. When I first hooked up with the group, I had to play hooky from work to join them.

A California quail hides among the weeds. I spotted him on an outing to Willard Bay in Northern Utah while birding this past May with old friends. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 Shortly thereafter I was inspired to write a weekly bird column. So instead of playing hooky while I was roaming all over Utah’s Wasatch Front on these Wednesdays, I could honestly report that I was doing research.

 Since I knew next to nothing about birds, the research included a lot of that, plus the generous help of the chapter’s birding experts, Jack Rensel and Keith Evans. Both these guys had been at this sport since they were young boys – and both had tales to tell of being suspected of unsavory deeds because of wandering around alone with binoculars in hands. They grew up at a time when birding wasn’t a well known hobby, and certainly not one boys took up.

 Thankfully, Roger Tory Peterson, who put together the first field guide that made birding possible for us non-ornithologists, watched birds as a boy even before Jack and Keith’s time.

 My oldest son makes fun of my birdwatching, considering it a little old lady’s sport. Well, it can be that. But it can also involve long hikes in the dark so as to arrive in time to watch male sage grouse play drums with their chest sacs to attract the ladies, or a hike over treacherous lava to watch Flamingos at a small lake in the Galapagos.

 Birding gives my travels that extra bit of oomph. For example, the boat ride to Matagorda Island off the coast of Texas was pleasant enough in itself, but getting to see whooping cranes as well was like the salt around the glass of a good margarita. And the climb up a ridge to see a black-capped vireo at Lost Maples State Park gave me a good dose of needed exercise.

 Looking for birds in the landscape has also enriched my travels in yet other ways. One who is looking for a tiny bird in the bush is not likely to miss the moose in the stream. And when I’m visiting Northern Utah, my passion for birds gives me a legitimate reason to once again hook up with my old Wednesday morning birding buddies.

 And, as I said, nothing could be finer than time spent with them.

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