There was snow on the valley floor yesterday morning and it was a chilly way to start an April day but late snows like this aren’t uncommon here in the Mountain West. There was a cold north wind blowing on Antelope Island and I remember feeling glad that I had remembered to tuck my gloves into my camera backpack just in case I needed them. Earlier this month I paid the price of numb fingers because I had forgotten them at home in a pocket of my winter jacket.
The sharp wind kept most of the birds down close to the ground and as clouds scuttled overhead there was sun and shadows on the birds I did find. I did see my first of the year Willets near the Great Salt Lake from the causeway on the way to the island and that had me exclaiming with delight.
My best find of the day was my first of the year Swainson’s Hawk about two thirds of the way down the island perched in some trees near a freshwater spring. I was so excited to see this hawk because I missed them so much over the winter.
The adult Swainson’s was hunkered down because of the wind and cold and it had the snowy mountains of Antelope Island in the background. This hawk just flew in from South America where I am certain it felt much warmer and more comfortable than it did yesterday. The poor Swainson’s looked pretty darn cold.
The day before yesterday the mountains of Antelope Island were completely bare of snow but the storm that started Saturday night that went into early Sunday morning dumped enough snow to cover the mountains and even reach down to the lower elevations.
The late snow won’t last long on the island though because the day after tomorrow it will be in the 60’s then the forecast has the temps climbing back in the 70’s again. This image shows the snow on the mountains and fresh spring grasses close to where I took this photo from the road that goes to Garr Fielding Ranch.
I liked the play of sunlight and shadows on the mountains in this frame with the fluffy clouds overhead. Most of the time my subjects are close and don’t show the spectacular landscapes I get to see while out photographing birds and wildlife and I like to photograph these views because they are also part of the story of the journeys I take.
This is a view of the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains while coming down from the Frary Peak Trailhead. Soon the bison will bring their calves to this side of the island to graze on this same slope.
This view is looking up towards the trailhead with a sliver of the road to the trailhead visible in the frame. The clouds can mess with my bird photography and I do complain about them at times but they are so beautiful floating in the bright blue western sky.
I couldn’t resist sharing one image of an American Bison bull grazing on spring grasses at White Rock Bay near the Great Salt Lake with snowy mountains way off in the distance. The bison have already begun to shed their winter coats and very soon they will look a bit ratty for a while.
I wasn’t sure there would be any decent light on the island yesterday but I am glad there was and I am also delighted to have seen my first Swainson’s Hawk of the year.
Life is good and I am enjoying the journey.