March 20, 2022


Yesterday, I flew back to my home-state Florida after an unforgettable 5-day trip in Park City, Utah. This is my first journal post ever, but surely won't be my last!

Most the time I had in Utah was spent skiing and snowboarding. But in the spare time I had to take my camera out, I was able to pick up quite a few lifers and iNat firsts, mostly of plants and birds.

First let me just say, WOW, the Rocky Mountains are so different than the Appalachians that I've spent recent years visiting! The jagged peaks decorated with spruce, fir, juniper, and aspen trees make for a wonderful landscape. No, this wasn't the first time I've been in the Rockies or surrounding areas, but I was seven when I last visited the West, which was a Yosemite-Sequoia trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I was so happy to find a pond, surrounded by an entirely new ecosystem to me, that was filled with wildlife just down the street from where I was staying. There I was able to see my first Wilson's Snipe, Woodhouse's Scrub Jay, Black-billed Magpie, and Townsend's Solitaire. Each day the snow melted more, and more grasses and other plants became exposed.

One morning after walking around the pond, the slight movement of some grass caught my attention. I at first thought it was a small foraging bird. After staring for a few seconds, I became confused since there was no bird visible in the small, thin patch of grass. Just then, the most adorable face popped out of the ground. It was a ground squirrel, specifically a Uinta Ground Squirrel, which is endemic to the Utah/Wyoming area of the US. Soon I noticed a second individual in a snow-covered field near the pond.

Now, for my most favorite part of the trip. I was sitting down attaching my snowboard to my foot at the edge of a slight drop-off preparing to snowboard down it, on a relatively warm (45 degrees) yet beautiful morning, surrounded by firs and spruces. As I buckled my foot onto my snowboard on the glimmering snow, a kid a few feet away from me screamed "EAGLE, EAGLE, EAGLE!". I looked up, and only about 25 ft above me slowly flew a magnificent, bronze-colored, beauty... the Golden Eagle! I didn't have my camera on me, but that only meant that I really lived in that moment. Two seconds later, it flew beyond the tree line. It was surely I moment I will never ever forget.

Below are some of my favorite observations from the trip :), featuring a few of my favorite photos. Thanks for reading!

Posted on March 20, 2022 16:09 by gatorhawk gatorhawk | 10 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment


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