Vacation is for the Birds

East Glacier — Sun Peeps Through

“This is Nature’s own reservation, and every lover of wildness will rejoice with me that by kindly frost it is so well defended.” ~ John Muir, Our National Parks

Hey, peeps.  We’re back, and what a refreshing vacation that was.

It was essentially a repeat of last year, with the notable addition of five days in Glacier National Park — a place we’d been itching to get back to since last August.  We also spent a good amount of time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as well.

What with another 5,000+ miles on the Hummer, just about every memorable detail of the most awesome LEGO Movie is now permanently etched into my subconscious.  (How our parents survived road trips without DVD’s, I’ll never know.)  And thank goodness for Dramamine, which kept our two kids with motion sickness well and rested.

Needless to say, it didn’t suck.   Okay.  Now, your questions.

What happened to your garden?  Did it survive the three-week neglect?  Ah, no worries there.  Thanks to Mother Nature and sporadic rain, the space is a carpet of green with practically no room for foot traffic.  We have two resident snakes that I now look out for thanks to the thriving ecosystem in that small space.  Fruits are plentiful (tomato, melon, pepper) and the sunflowers are 8 feet tall with seed heads the diameter of a basketball! The keyhole garden made a great nursery for plants that didn’t quite make it into the ground in the hurry to leave town.  I had my neighbor hand-water the blueberries, because, well, they’re in containers.  Indeed, all’s good in a maintenance-free garden.

Does this mean there will be another Gnomie post?  It appears someone forgot to put him in the camera bag (my bad).  We did not purchase a replacement but instead took photos using another road buddy:  Hummie.  Stay tuned.

Did you guys get caught in that wacky summer-wintery weather from Canada?  Why yes, we did.  And thank goodness for 4-wheel drive.  How many kids can brag to their friends about waking up to big snow flakes during their summer vacay?  I know at least four…

What about your Big Year?  That still going on?  Of course!  Just because our little birdies back home got the shaft didn’t mean we weren’t paying attention to the feathered variety away from home.  Such cheaters.  Armed with a new camera, area check-lists, four eager kids, and a husband who was in the “zone”, we added more than 50 new bird species to our growing list.  Huzzah!

Rocky Mounting Birding 2014

On the Road (5):  

  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Western Kingbird
  • Canada Goose
  • Western Meadowlark
  • Common Raven

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (22):  

  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Western Bluebird
  • Mountain Chickadee
  • Rock Wren
  • Sage Thrasher (ID’d with beer, photos, and sounds)
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Lazuli Bunting
  • Cassin’s Finch
  • Bank Swallow
  • Tree Swallow
  • Violet-green Swallow
  • Cassin’s Vireo
  • Green-tailed Towhee (Angie, the birding machine!)
  • Northern Flicker
  • Spruce Grouse (caused an unbelievable traffic jam!)
  • Common Merganser
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Ruddy Duck
  • American Wigeon
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Bufflehead

Glacier National Park, Montana (8):

  • Gray Jay
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Varied Thrush
  • Stellar’s Jay
  • Harlequin Duck (Holy Bat Turds!!  This made our year.)
  • American Dipper
  • Canyon Wren
  • Townsend’s Warbler

Grand Teton National Park (12):

  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Dusky Flycatcher
  • Clark’s Nutcracker
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Clark’s Grebe
  • Western Grebe
  • Trumpeter Swan
  • Red-naped Sapsucker (Scottie, by sound alone)
  • Greater Sage-Grouse
  • Western Wood-Pewee
  • MacGillvray’s Warbler (Shannon, by sound alone)
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet (Scottie, by sound alone)

Colorado Springs area, Colorado (4):

  • Brewer’s Blackbird
  • American Three-toed Woodpecker
  • Black-backed Woodpecker
  • Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Stellar's Jay
Rocky Mountain Birding — DirtNKids SmugMug Album

Click the photo and you’ll be taken to SmugMug.
To see my little beauties even closer, be sure to select
the X2-Large viewing size on your screen!

Sorry, no time for post-processing…photos are WYSIWIG.

8 thoughts on “Vacation is for the Birds

  1. What a great post, Shannon!! So looking forward to your upcoming posts!! And congrats on your Big Year list – nothing like a trip to new environments to see lots of new birds!! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Judy. You would have LOVED it. We were kids in a candy shop, and strapping on the long lens became just another layer of clothing wherever we went. The camera bag lived in my lap pretty much the whole time. Working on the next posts…stay tuned.


    1. So very worth three (or more) days confined in a car with kids. And I would highly recommend doing your own Big Year in parallel. A lot like car bingo of the old days, only better! I hope you get out there.


  2. Shannon, another of your great, wonderful, entertaining posts. Wow, you are at 219. We have a lot of catching up to do, but heck, we still have six months to do it. Should be a piece of pie, er, cake. 🙂

    Love the photos. 🙂


    1. We are actually at 221! A couple of them got left off the list and I haven’t updated yet. The year’s only halfway over…still lots of time to catch me.


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