Sunday, November 28, 2010

Playing in the Snow

Winter has arrived in Idaho. It came quickly with very cold weather and plenty of snow. Karyn and I had planned to hit Sun Valley last weekend, but it didn't work out. We did make it on Friday for three great days of cross country skate skiing. I can definitely feel it throughout my body as I sip my brandy on this Sunday evening. But it wasn't all about skiing. We headed out Saturday afternoon in search of wildlife. While we missed some of the spectacular rare birds which showed up in Boise (Northern Parula and Yellow-throated Warbler), we did get a good look at a number of my favorite winter birds.
I saw my first Rough-legged Hawk of the season. Apparently it is a good year for Rough-legged. They are regular winter residents of Idaho, but some years their numbers are very high. I only saw one but other reports total into the hundreds for a single day! Next on my list of favorites are the Snow Buntings.
Snow Bunting near Ketchum Idaho.
They are usually found in flocks, but this guy was solo. Another year round favorite of mine is the American Dipper. I love watching them diving in the water, but it is even more spectacular in the winter with the snow and ice. We saw more than a dozen on Warm Springs Creek.
American Dipper near Ketchum Idaho.
Even though I am a bird nerd, we do like other wildlife as well. We would see hundreds of Elk, a few dozen Mule Deer, a couple of Coyotes, and Karyn snapped this photo of a friendly Beaver which entertained us for 30 minutes.
North American Beaver, Warm Springs Creek.
Great skiing, great wildlife, and great food made for a great weekend together. Now its back to school for a few more weeks.