After spending several days skiing, while Tom, Kelli & Mitchell snowboarded, I decided that I wanted to have a break. I dropped them off at Powder Mountain near Ogden and started my way to Antelope Island State Park. I had been there last winter and it was so beautiful all covered in snow, with the waters frozen as well. Of course, that wasn’t the case this year, for the winter had been such a mild one … no snow at all … limited ice … warm … I couldn’t believe it!
Unsure as to what I was going to see, I began to tour the island and look for wildlife. Usually, one doesn’t go far before bison, mule deer, coyote, etc are spotted. But what in the world was this? I had no clue, but learned about it along the way.
It was a chukar partridge, which is in the pheasant family. Not native to the area or anywhere in US, it was imported here as a game bird … makes sense. Come to find out that its actually an Eurasian bird, and the national bird of both Pakistan and Iraq! Well, I guess you learn something new everyday (at least I do – LOL).
This guy was so beautiful with such remarkable markings in its feathers. It would sit up on one of the large rocks on the landscape and watch … and call out … and observe some more. I was being very careful as to not disturb it and to my surprise it just let me photograph it. He apparently was communicating, in a sentinel fashion, with the rest of his colony, though I never saw them.
Further up the road, I encountered several coyotes as they searched for a quick bite to eat. It was amazing to me that in the brown past-winter landscape, how difficult it was to spot from afar. Thank goodness I had my binocs with me. 🙂
Being that he was very intent on hunting, thus probably very hungry, I didn’t shoot long.
Ended up down by the ranch, where a lone pronghorn antelope was making its way. Wonder why he was there all alone like that? Seemed like out on the flats like that, all alone, he/she would be an easy target. Looked for the great horned owls … found their nest, but didn’t see either of them this year. All in all, it was a beautiful day, but a bit slow for wildlife.
So, as I made my way back to exit the park, I bid my new Chukar friend, adieu. He was still hanging out and playing the role of “the watchman”. Doing a fine job at it as well too.
This shot from the Visitor Center area gives you some perspective of the landscape both there as well as SLC area across the way. So very beautiful!
The next day, we had one more day of snowboarding/skiing before we had to say goodbye to Kelli & Mitchell. Gosh, it’s so pretty out this way in the winter.
Next up: “Hoooo” wants to see more owls?
© 2015 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography