Posts Tagged ‘great blue herons’

A Chilean flamingo. — Wikimedia photo

“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” – Isadora Duncan

They Called Him Pink Floyd

In 1987, a Chilean flamingo escaped from Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, Utah, then he, or she, eluded all efforts to be recaptured. No one knows where the flamingo migrated to each spring, but the bird was usually spotted every winter for the next 15 plus years on the Great Salt Lake, where it dined on the inland lake’s brine shrimp.

Pink Floyd wasn’t the only thing I saw in Northern Utah. These great blue herons were wintering on Farmington Bay adjacent to the Great Salt Lake. — Photo by Pat Bean

The flamingo became a legend to birders, and someone called it Pink Floyd. The name stuck.

I got a rare, distant glimpse of him in about 2002. His pink coloring made him stick out among a flock of avocets and gulls, which were feeding in shallow waters a goodly way from shore. Pink Floyd was quite an oddity, and I felt privileged to have seen the flamingo, especially since I had become addicted to birding in 1999, and then spent a couple of years on the lookout for Pink Floyd.

Chilean flamingos have a life expectancy of up to 50 years, but Pink Floyd hasn’t been seen since 2005.It is suspected he didn’t survive that winter.

When I sat down to write my blog this morning, I had no idea what I was going to write about. That happens some days. Then suddenly, Pink Floyd pecked my little grey cells and said: Write about me.

Bean Pat: Masterpieces at the Musee d’Orsay http://tinyurl.com/ycgu9aoq Take an armchair tour of a Paris museum. I loved the Van Gogh.

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            “In rivers the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.” Leonardo da Vinci

Adventures with Pepper: Day Six continued

View of the Green River from the Dinosaur National Monument quarry overlook. — Photo by Pat Bean

            My detour off Highway 40 to Dinosaur National Monument on a rural back road followed the Green River as it flowed down to join the Mighty Colorado River.

Not a slouch in itself the Green, which begins in the Wind River Mountains of  Wyoming, is 730 miles long and a major tributary of the Colorado.

I had rafted this section of the river, through Split Mountain Gorge into Dinosaur National Monument, back in the late 1980s, and I had canoed a section of the river from Ouray to Sand Wash in the 1970s.

So while I have a fondness for all rivers, I have a special fondness for the Green. It was an expected pleasure to watch its passage from behind the wheel of Gypsy Lee this morning.

What wasn’t expected was the flock of sandhill cranes in a meadow near the river. I had to stop for these.

A flock of great blue herons in an irrigated agriculture field just outside the entrance to Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal, Utah.

The herons were an unexpected sight, the kind that continues to make travel so alluring to this wondering wanderer.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie now at 50,402 words. Over half-way there. Yea!

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Running with Scissortails http://tinyurl.com/8q45ucg One of these things is not like the other. Personally, I hang out with scissortails at every opportunity, but I’ve never seen scissor-tailed flycatchers anywhere but Texas.

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 “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” – Chinese proverb

Well What Are They?

I haven’t a clue as to what these berries are. Do you? — Photo by Pat Bean

I was sitting at my computer when Pepper jumped up from her cozy spot on my bare feet and started barking frantically.

Somebody, perhaps the tenth person this day, was approaching my RV. I glanced outside to see who it was, then hushed Pepper and told her it was OK.

I never scold her for barking because I like having her as my alarm system, even if her barks are sounded frequently, which they are. People, noting the campground host sign in front of my Lake Walcott RV site, stop by often.

But I do know that this is a milkweed. I learned its name last year in my searches to identify Lake Walcott plants. It’s a special favorite of butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean.

I’m pretty good at answering most questions about the park, including its history and what facilities and activities are available. This, after all, is my third year as a volunteer here.

Sometimes the campers ask me to identify a bird they just saw. This is my favorite question because I can almost always answer it. With the exception of the sharp-tailed grouse, every bird species found here at the park is on my life birding list.

This guy, however, had a plant question.

“Are these huckleberries?” He was holding up a twig with berries from a bush that I had spotted earlier in the day – and photographed because I wanted to know what kind of berries they were myself.

Sadly I hadn’t been successful in identifying them, and had to tell him I didn’t know. I do so hate disappointing campers. Perhaps one of my readers is as avid a plant enthusiast as I am about birds and can tell me. See picture above.

Bean’s Pat: Serenity Spell http://tinyurl.com/87qcugr A young great blue heron’s meal. Great photos. Blog pick of the day by this wondering wanderer.

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A pair of bald eagles, injured in the wild, that are living out their lives at the Brevard Zoo in Florida. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” — Carl Sandburg

Just for Today

Ever since I counted 149 eagles wintering at the Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area in Northern Utah, I’ve been a bit blase when spotting a lone bald eagle. Of course I still look for this symbol of our American heritage, and even experience a shiver or two when I do see one flying overhead or sitting atop a tall tree.

I appreciate the sightings all the more  because of this great bird’s comeback from near extinction with the passage of the Endangered Species Act and the banning of DDT.

This morning, however, the adrenalin-pumping thrill of eagle watching was back, thanks to a live, streaming video cam in Iowa that I watched on my computer here in Arkansas. The cam is aimed at a 1.5 ton eagle nest, 80 feet up in a cottonwood tree on the bank of Trout Run Creek at the Decorah Fish Hatchery. The large nest is being attended by a coupled pair of eagles.

When I first looked, all I saw was one of the adults sitting on the nest, on what I had read were three eggs. When next I looked, one of the adult eagles was gently feeding two chicks while the third egg was still unhatched. Reading a bit more, I learned that the first chick hatched Saturday, and the second yesterday. Perhaps the third will hatch today. The pair successfully fledged three chicks in 2010.

Great blue herons at Farmington Bay in Northern Utah, where I once counted 149 bald eagles on a February day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

As I write this, the eagle is now back sitting on her chicks to keep them warm. What appears to be a healthy breeze is ruffling the feathers of the adult eagle.

 You can hear the wind blowing, the creek babbling, the chicks peeping and just now the honk of geese flying somewhere overhead.

I plan to keep the feed to the site open on my computer today. Perhaps you would like to join me for the show. http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

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