Grand Teton National Park … one of the many fabulous U.S. parks set aside for the public to enjoy … and that we did. It was towards the end of winter and it had snowed heavily the week before we got there, so it was gorgeous to say the least.
The last blog post featured many of the animals that call the Tetons home. This blog will now focus on the birds that reside here through the winter season … starting out with a beautiful juvenile bald eagle.Having moved out west, I’ve been much more exposed to a variety of raptors. One of my favorites is the rough-legged hawk. There’s something so beautiful about their markings within their feather pattern.Of course, their grace and agility in flight are worth noting as well.Rough-legged hawks are one of the only hawks (the ferruginous hawk and the golden eagle being the others) that have feathered legs down to the toes … making their identification easier. I just love they way that they appear in flight.On the ground, we often see bald eagles are they feed on carrion. This mature bald eagle worked hard on this carcass in the brush.At one point, we came across another mature bald eagle, sitting so still on a post that I was pretty sure it was a fake sighting … for I’ve been fooled by those before (though usually by owl ones – LOL). It’s feet were full of what appeared to be nesting material. The sighting was so perfect that even though I saw it blink, I still questioned my eyesight.As we approached closer, it barely even made any signs of flight or concern. It was breathtaking!When it finally looked like it was going to fly away, it did its “business”, re-positioned, and after quite some time, finally flew off.Of course, it wasn’t all raptor sightings … in fact we saw many water birds, such as the ring-necked duck. It was so beautiful as it swam around in the water and the sunlight showed off its colors.We also saw many Barrow’s goldeneye, like this male, but also had female sightings as well.We found swans in numbers as well.Then we kept running into the rough-legged hawks again, which I was thrilled with, Not sure that everyone in the car shared my enthusiasm … but hey, at least it wasn’t another male northern harrier (a definite favorite of mine). LOLThe bald eagle sightings were numerous though … sometimes multiples in a given tree. This one looks like it might have found itself perhaps a muskrat to dine on. It’s so fascinating to observe them as they tear it up in the process of devouring it.Yes, the Tetons are beautiful in any season, but there’s something about the “silence” that the winter season allows that makes it one of my favorites. 🙂Thanks Jen for taking this image of Tom and I enjoying the moment during this fabulous trip to the Tetons!Next Up: More burrowing owls from 2017 … believe it or not. Can’t get enough of those special friends of mine. 🙂
© 2018 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography