We went to Idaho and Utah to visit our families, and while we were in Idaho we went to Yellowstone National Park. My parents took us to LaHardie Rapids and we saw a MALE HARLEQUIN DUCK! (Oh, sorry, I'll calm down now.) I was really excited, it was a beautiful bird and as you can see was hanging out in some crazy water. I also added Clark's Nutcracker and a Gray Jay to my life list in Yellowstone, I'm sure I've seen them before camping in Yellowstone with my family, but I wasn't birding back then.
I also saw my first Gray Catbird in Idaho. I was poking around along the canal bank that runs down the back of my parents back yard when I thought I heard a cat mewing. I went to investigate and found not a cat, but a catbird! Pretty good when you get a life bird in your parents back yard!
Now for the bird that really counts on this blog: I saw an Indigo Bunting at the Bird Preserve! What a great bird! It's not on the checklist at the BVP, so it was pretty exciting to see. It was especially fun because the last few times I've been to the Bird Preserve, I haven't seen any "new" species and things get pretty quiet during the summer. However, there are still lots of babies at the Bird Preserve and they are always fun to watch.
An eared grebe carrying its baby on its back.
This pair of avocets was exchanging nest-sitting duties. The avocet in the rear had just come from the water, where I observed it feeding, drinking and dipping its belly feathers in the water. As it approached the nest it shook the water off its feet, and then lowered itself onto its nest. You can't really see them in the photo, but it looked like there were two eggs and one barely hatched chick. Its mate then went to feed and drink and dip its belly in the water, and then it returned and shook off its feet and lowered itself onto the nest. The water from their feathers evaporates off the eggs and helps keep them cool.