Juvenile Dark-eyed Junco, Trial Lake and Mirror Lake Highway

/, Dark-eyed Juncos, High Uintas, Summit County, Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest, Utah/Juvenile Dark-eyed Junco, Trial Lake and Mirror Lake Highway

Trial Lake View - Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National ForestTrial Lake View – Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest – Nikon D810, f10, 1/500, ISO 320, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 18 mm, natural light

I spent time yesterday morning inhaling cool, clean mountain air while enjoying the scenery of the Mirror Lake Highway section of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. I saw a low temp of 34°F, frost on some camper’s cars and up near Bald Mountain I could still see some small snow fields from last winter. I even shivered a few times while riding around with my window down. It was good to get out of the valley and even if it wasn’t particularly “birdy” it was nice to be some where different than my normal “haunts”. It was also great to see and breathe the clear air.

Before I moved to Utah I photographed Clark’s Nutcrackers near Trial Lake on one of my trips to photograph Utah, yesterday I didn’t photograph any birds there but I did take a few scenics because I loved view of the lake with the morning mist rising from it.

I have to say that there are more dead trees around Trial Lake now than when I first saw it in 2008. I don’t know what the impact of that is on the birds and wildlife that live there but I know it can’t be good.

Dark-eyed Junco juvenile perched in a coniferDark-eyed Junco juvenile perched in a conifer – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I was delighted to photograph a lovely, little Dark-eyed Junco juvenile perched in a conifer near Washington Lake which is not too far from Trial Lake and the Mirror Lake Highway. The young junco was one of only two birds that I photographed yesterday, I don’t know which subspecies this bird was because juveniles juncos look a lot alike.

It wasn’t a very productive day for me photographically but I felt wonderful after being up in the high Uintas for a  few hours yesterday. Oh, and I believe I saw my first bobcat in that area yesterday too, it bounded across the road and I am 99% certain of my ID on it.

Life is good.


Trial Lake is at 9731 feet in elevation, Washington Lake is at 10,000 feet. 


  1. Pepe Forte August 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Love the lake shot but that little Junco steals the show. The depth and color and the detail you captured is just incredible. Thanks Mia.

  2. Jane Chesebrough August 17, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    I like seeing the juveniles as they are so cute.Tonight when I walked my friend’s dog, in a half hour I saw five small gaggle of geese. Seems early.Sigh.

  3. Elephants Child August 17, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Love the scenery. Heart balm – even without the junco and the cooler weather.
    We are a nation of poisoners and what we have done in a (futile) effort to eradicate rabbits gives me the horrors.

  4. April Olson August 17, 2017 at 11:22 am

    It is nice to be cold out of season. As a kid I spent many days fishing with my dad at the lakes in the Uintas. It has a found memory about back packing in to Big Elk Lake for all in my family. Sadly like most of my treasured areas they have become so crowded I don’t enjoy going as often as I use to.

  5. Patty Chadwick August 17, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Such a cute little bird! We onlyvsee the slate colored juncos here, and only in the winter, which is why they area also called Snow Birds….that lake is beautiful!!!

  6. Laura Culley August 17, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Lovely little girl/guy! I’ve loved juncos coming to my feeders, but I don’t yet have a safe place to put a feeder here–gotta fix that!
    As for the dead trees, I’ve seen that in Colorado, too while visiting friends in the mountains. And you’re right. That can’t be good for anyone who lives there! Added to that, it’s a huge wildfire waiting to happen!
    I saw a bobcat up close and personal while out hunting Mariah several years ago and you’ll never guess the habitat! It was in a partly developed industrial park along a railroad line adjacent to the I-630 loop around Dallas!! There wasn’t a lot of territory there, but there were an abundance of rabbits. It was the field I took her to when I needed to be sure Mariah would have plenty of opportunities to catch something, plus it was close to where I lived. The bobcat didn’t want anything to do with me, Maggie the Golden Wondermutt (who agreed with that idea) and Mariah (who wasn’t interested in catching it–thankfully) and s/he skedaddled smartly into the heavy brush to make a clean escape. What a gorgeous critter!!
    Sadly, that field is now fully developed, and while there are still rabbits there, they’re being poisoned and there are an abundance of fences (human obstacles that don’t pertain to the birds) there now.

    • Patty Chadwick August 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Poisoning rabbits…how sick!!! Not only is itva terribly paiful, cruel way for something to did, but it endangers so may other species…cats, dogs, hawks, owls, etc. my owl was killed that way…

      • Laura Culley August 17, 2017 at 10:27 am

        People don’t realize or don’t care that there’s almost always a second poisoning! I’ve got at least one mouse in my garage but it’s such a mess in there with moving chaos that I only get glimpses of it/them so neither the Kestrel nor Jack the Harris’ hawk could get it/them safely–too many obstacles. Zoe (JRT) and Hannah (long-haired mini dachshund) have flushed him/her/them out a couple of times but it/they disappear again rapidly! Soon there won’t be as many hidey places but I will NOT use poisons. I will NOT go there. Bottom line is it’s just a mouse (or several).

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