Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back to Antelope Island

My photography assistant Jasper joined me for another trip to Antelope Island.  It started off with an interesting twist.  I saw a handful of birds and then noticed something bigger out on the mud flats.  As I got closer I saw it was a big fluffy coyote. He stared us down for a minute before heading off to find breakfast.
I have to leave home around 6:00 to get to Antelope Island by sunrise, but it's worth it.  The flat water and soft light make such a difference.
A lot of the birds were the same as I saw last trip.
But there were thousands of little shore birds.
I watched this bird for quite a while.  Instead of efficiently poking for food like everyone else, he seemed to be half flying, half walking the entire time.
I love the long bills on these guys. 
This one was walking a bit before flying.
Of course, it isn't just about birds.  This pronghorn was hanging with some bison not too far from the visitors center.
Later on a found the rest of the herd.  There were about 100 of them.
When I was photographing the bison, I noticed some movement in the background.  Out came a pair of coyotes, wandering through the bison herd.
And after mom and dad came through, a younger coyote followed them.  This was the first time I have seen coyotes out on Antelope Island.  This family wasn't as healthy and fluffy as the first one I saw.
My biggest success for the day was also my biggest failure.  I have been hunting high and low for a Burrowing Owl.  I know they are on the island, but they are fairly rare.  I finally found one, sitting on the edge of his burrow.  Before I could stop the truck and get a picture, he was gone.  I waited for 20 minutes, but he didn't come back.  I checked later and he still wasn't back.  Very sad, but I will check when I go back next time.  Here is a picture so you can see what I'm hunting for.
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