Tuesday, January 18

Winter Woes, Winter Wows

Talk about cabin fever...after being holed up for over two weeks, it was great just to get in the car and get out in the Hills on Friday, despite the overcast sky. I decided to look for bald eagles along the two Park borders where I've seen them before....

Taking the dirt road (which was covered in snow about a foot deep between the tire ruts) that heads SE and then S of Custer Park, down thru Wind Cave Nat'l Park, I didn't see any baldies, but I did come across four elk. They took off as I neared so this was the best shot I could get...

I saw this shrike at a good distance in a pine...to me it looks like a Northern shrike, not the loggerhead. If it's a No. shrike then it's a lifer for me. (Update: I forgot to check the migration map; this would be the No. shrike, while the loggerhead shrike is a summer visitor.)

This big fella was standing in the same upper grasslands area that I saw the elk...he wasn't alone but I thought he looked the coolest...

I checked out the picnic area at Wind Cave, a good birding spot...this peek-a-boo pine grosbeak IS a lifer! Wish I could've seen all of it but it refused to cooperate...a winter visitor to the Dakotas...

While traipsing around Wind Cave, I spotted a doe above me on the hillside before she spotted me...yet another deer making a face at me...she was followed by two more does...

A Townsend's solitaire (I'd labeled this a willow flycatcher but again, wrong time of year...T's solitaire is not in my eastern ed. field guide but I was aware of them)...was up in the Rocky Mt. juniper surveilling any movement below...

The snowy trail from the picnic area to the cave...the sun was finally breaking thru the clouds...

A dark-eyed 'white-winged' junco on stone steps near the cave...

A black-capped chickadee amid a tangle of Rocky Mt. juniper branches...

The red-breasted nuthatches were busy around the cave, pecking at bark...it sounds like mini woodpeckers hammering.

Wanda, my thoughts are with you and 'herhusband' at this time, hope he is recovering well...


  1. Thank you Jann. Richard is doing extremely well, walks 25 min. on the thread mill and drove yesterday for the first time, went shopping by himself!

    I love the four elk in a row, the shrike in the tip top of the pine, that red-headed bison and the composition of the willow flycatcher photo is beautiful!

  2. Jann,
    Neat action shot of the bull elk!
    You are right about the Northern shrike, the loggerheads are summer residents and should be in the Texas/Oklahoma and south regions by now.
    The willow flycatcher is also long gone to warmer places, what you have in the juniper tree is a Townsend's solitaire. Always a favorite of mine, that was my grandmother's maiden name.

  3. Well done on finding the 'lifers' Jann, that solitaire does indeed look very flycatcher like :-)

  4. Beautiful blog! Wonderful pictures.

  5. The elk shot is fantastic. Your 'best shot' is better than my worst shot since we don't even have them around here. The buffalo is my favorite.

  6. Two more lifers ... congrats Jann. Love the look from the inquisitive Doe. FAB.

  7. MY how I needed these shots of birds. First visit.
    I am in Maine and the snow is up to my fanny.
    I have never been to your state. I was close but never made it. Stop over and visit a while. yvonne