Wild Idaho #4

Red-Winged Blackbird

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

I see you.

Lizard. Do you know my name?

These pictures were taken at Derkies. We walked back to a marshy area and our ears were filled with the songs and chattering of these two beautiful blackbirds. There is something about black contrasted with a flash of bright color – stunning! Swallows were dipping back and forth across the water, and some sort of water loving, sleek brown mammal was scurrying within the reeds, never letting us get more than a glimpse of it. Lichen covered rocks. Craggy cliffs. The green of spring. A nature walk right in town.

Long Time, No Write

Wow, I can’t believe the last post is from May!  Sorry for the unplanned absence.  All I can do is get posting again and hope I keep it up!  If you’re at all interested in what’s going on in other parts of my life, you should go to Media Knits.  I post there semi-regularly. 

So for lack of knowing where exactly to start,  I’m going to travel all the way back to May for some pics taken at and around Shoshone Falls (Snake River, Mule Deer, Unidentified Reptile) – so many photos taken of that place, but it’s never not beautiful. Enjoy!

A Bit of Here & There

 Here’s a few of the places we’ve been as of late:  Boating on the Snake River by Hagerman (mid April)…

 complete with beautiful waterfall.

 A windy day at Milner (early April) – just part of a drive while Collin snoozed in the back.

 Complete with Oregon Trail ruts (gives me chills!)…

 …and little graveyard with weathered wooden tombstones (gives me chills of another sort).

A day out at North Cottonwood Creek in the South Hills (one of a few already) – end of April. 

 A burst of red.

Greening up. 

 That burst of red again with a crumbling creekbed behind it looking in poor health.

And complete with a big black widow in a hole in the ground with its metallic blue pray in the bottom left-hand corner.  I’ll admit it, my hands trembled a little as I took this picture, and for some reason, I wasn’t aware that they lived right there on the surface – in the top of a hole in the ground.  Made me look twice before I took each step.  Black widows are quite beautiful looking, though, with their glossy almost plastic looking bodies.  One time, we found one living under our couch – that gives me chills too!

 More:

North Cottonwood Creek in the Fall

Everything South Hills Related

Everything Snake River Related

Everything Hagerman Related

© 2008 Idaho Explorer

Snake

Here’s what we found in our backyard at the beginning of this month.  It’s a gopher snake (a.k.a. bull snake).

Unfortunately our dogs found him first.  They were barking like crazy at something, but weren’t getting near it.  Chase and I, with Collin in tow, went outside and got the dogs in the shop.  The snake was very scared (poor thing) and had a tooth mark hole a couple of inches from the back of his head.

Chase managed to get him in here (quite impressive considering snakes make him a wee bit nervous).

And then in here for safe transportation.  We got in the truck and drove around ’till we found a suitable place for the release.

Bye bye snakey.  I hope he lived.  I have no idea how serious that sort of wound is for a snake.  It was pretty crazy to have him in our backyard.  I mean, he’s pretty big and we do live right in town.  He must have surpassed a lot of obstacles before the dog encounter.  It’s always good to remember that wildlife is all around, even in our own backyards.  What sort of encounters have you had?

Want to see more wildlife?

Wild Idaho #1 – American Goldfinch

Wild Idaho #2 – Mule Deer

Wild Idaho #3 – Red-Tailed Hawk

Tracks in the Snow

Winter Birds

© 2008 Idaho Explorer

Winter Birds

A Welcome Winter Visitor
Dark-eyed Junco

After an unplanned hiatus from writing, I return to talk about our feathered fliers – the birds. Though winter is a couple of months away, I thought it a good time to get ready for the arrival of the wintering birds. I find immense joy in observing and identifying birds for the first time, and each time thereafter. Winter, summer, and migrations make for excellent opportunities to sight birds that aren’t around for the entire year. If you keep a running record of when and where you spotted a bird, then this is especially satisfying. But whether you don’t know a crow from a raven or are able to name the correct body parts for identification purposes, the thrill of seeing birds is equally pleasing, no matter the skill level. Anytime is always a worthy time to discover the intriguing activity of birding. It’s also a great way to learn the flora and fauna of your area, something every human being should strive to become experts on – as we have fallen so out of touch with the land and our immediate surroundings. Below is a list of the birds that winter in Idaho. I encourage you to look up the overwinter-ers in the region you live. Believe me, you’ll find great pleasure in it!

-American Tree Sparrow

-Bald Eagle

-Barrow’s Goldeneye

-Bohemian Waxwing

-Brown Creeper

-Bufflehead

-Common Goldeneye

-Common Merganser

-Dark-eyed Junco

-Evening Grosbeak

-Golden-crowned Kinglet

-Gray-crowned Rosy-finch

-Herring Gull

-Hooded Merganser

-Lapland Longspur

-Lesser Scaup

-Northern Saw-whet Owl

-Northern Shrike

-Red Crossbill

-Ring-necked Duck

-Rough-legged Hawk

-Sharp-shinned Hawk

-Snow Bunting

-Snowy Owl

-Pine Siskin

-Yellow-rumped Warbler

While some of these birds occupy parts of Idaho year-round, other areas of Idaho only get them during the winter months.  Look for them in your area!

Do you keep a bird list? Are you an avid bird watcher? Are you going to be from here on out? Share your bird stories!

*After posting this, I headed to my mom’s house and out the window saw a male and female Dark-eyed Junco at her bird bath! The Dark-eyed Junco is a favorite of mine and is a frequent visitor to bird feeders (as the picture taken out my window shows). For me, they are a symbolic transition into winter and when they arrive, I feel as if old friends have come for an extended visit. Welcome birds of winter!

© 2008 Idaho Explorer