Thursday, January 26, 2012

Scott M Matheson Wetlands

Yesterday as we were traveling south on US highway 191 we stopped off at Scott M. Matheson Wetland in Moab, Utah. We saw a new lifer Spotted Towhee.
Spotted Towhee
They are very pretty songbirds and our first Towhee! They were jumping from branch to branch and didn't go to far off the ground, unlike some birds that fly higher up in the trees. The trees they were jumping around in were very thick so that was challenging to get a good shot of them. The Wetland had had a wildfire last summer and had just recently reopened in October. They had not totally finished cleaning up from the fire so there was piles around the walk way but the walk way was still pretty. I would recommend this place to anyone who enjoys nature.

After seeing the Towhee, Simon was still trying to get a decent picture of the Spotted Towhee when I walked ahead and around a curve in the boardwalk I thought I heard something walking around on the ground but couldn't make anything out. I was looking for the Towhee since we had just seen it on the the ground but still saw nothing. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a coyote. OMG! He just walked out from the shrubs and kept on walking didn't even look at me. Then I told Simon what I had saw and we walked further down and he saw it and said it was a dog....I'm not sure if I saw a coyote or not.
As we went on down the trail we saw some other birds we already have on our big year. Such as Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Juncos, Northern Flickers, Yellow-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrow and Black-billed Magpies, American Kestrel.
American Kestrel
Northern flicker
The White-crowned Sparrow was a tricky one with curved black lines on the head and a chin marking, this would make it West Taiga.
We were able to get a pretty good picture of the Northern Flicker and American Kestrel.
The black-billed Magpie was quiet tricky to photography but we managed to get a few good ones in there.
Black-billed Magpie
We planned only to stay 1 1/2 hour but that got extended by an hour when we took a "shortcut". With some of the trees down and in piles we hit a dead end and had to turn around and find the trail again. Once we got back to the main trail we checked the time and high tailed it back to the truck.
White-crowned Sparrow
West Taiga Variety
We got back on the road with our total only up by one
 but the day was not over yet! As Simon was driving he spotted two Northern Groshawk but we were on back roads with nowhere to pull off as there was no shoulders on these roads. So we got no picture of those but those put us up to 102! Our number keeps getting bigger and its still January!!

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