Thursday, August 05, 2010

Utah Trip (1)

We spent four days at the end of last week camping at Lost Lake. This is one of the many lakes bordering the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, which runs from southeast of Salt Lake City to Evanston, Wyoming.

The scenery was certainly very different from that in southeast Texas.

Our campground was at 10,200 feet - and so I spent the first two days suffering quite badly from altitude sickness.

The Campground

We were surprised to see that the campground was absolutely covered in many different kinds of wildflowers.

Even many of the trees had beautifully colored bark.

The sky was a much deeper blue than we're used to.

As is to be expected in high mountains, the afternoons brought rainclouds and showers.

We were lucky, though, and only had one hour of real rain during our stay. So the evening sky was usually clear, and the moonlight made it possible to walk around the campsite in the middle of the night without flashlights.

We were hoping to see Moose wandering the upland meadows, but the closest we got was seeing a couple of deer wandering past our tent.

I didn't bother taking photos of the local squirrels: We get too many squirrels in our yards at home. Chipmunks, however, are a very different story.

We sprinkled a few sunflower seeds and cookie crumbs around our camping area and ended up sharing the site with a family of four Unita Chipmunks. They were soon so unafraid that they would forage under our chairs and even walk across our shoes.

Our most loyal camp-mate was a young Brown-headed Cowbird, which prowled around us all day every day.

The most common birds on the campground were American Robins. This one spent a lot of time digging up bugs around our picnic table. It would stop, cock its head to one side and listen for the sound of movement below the ground. Then it would peck out whatever bug had made the sound.

Our campsite attracted quite a few other birds, including Mountain Chickadees, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Dee and I both love the latter, but the ones we saw in Utah were very skittish and hard to photograph.

Dark-eyed Junco

We worried about spreading birdfood around, in case it attracted bears. However, the temptation was too great and we started putting birdseed and nuts on nearby stones and logs. As I'll show tomorrow, this brought in some interesting birds.


Pam said...

Looks like a beautiful place! The Cowbird looks a little like our juvenile Starlings.

Jeff said...

I saw a lot of young birds, Pam, and some of them - particularly sparrows - were very difficult to ID.