Snow-covered Deseret Peak in the Stansbury Mountains – Nikon D810, f10, 1/1600, Nikkor 18-200mm at 82mm, natural light
After nearly a week of being inside most of the time I finally got out yesterday and went out to explore some of the West Desert canyons to look for birds and it felt good to be away from the city noises. The day wasn’t really birdy and I didn’t come home with any bird photos worth keeping but I enjoyed being out anyway. The light was variable at first, there were intermittent heavy shadows from the clouds overhead to bright and sunny light falling on the mountain tops.
I did end up seeing four long distance Bald Eagles, which is a daily high for me this winter, and two Golden Eagles soaring high over the Oquirrh Mountains. I saw flocks of Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays and plenty of Black-billed Magpies, a few Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks plus one Ferruginous Hawk that was almost too far away to identify. My one and only chance to take a frame filling image of a Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay was foiled because it wasn’t spotted soon enough and the jay took off before I could get my lens raised and my finger on the shutter button.
My only keeper images of the morning were a few photos I took of the Stansbury Mountain Range and Deseret Peak and even those weren’t that great but I loved seeing the snow-covered mountains. The Stansbury Mountain Range and some other ranges in Utah and Nevada are what are called “sky islands.” The highest peak in this photo is Deseret Peak and it is also the highest peak in the Stansbury Mountain Range at 11,033 feet in elevation. The Stansbury Mountain Range and nearby Stansbury Island were named after Captain Howard Stansbury who was sent to survey the Great Salt Lake area in the 1850’s. The alpine areas in the mountains contrast sharply from the desert valleys below them and about 15,000+ years ago these mountains were an island in Lake Bonneville and the valley surrounding them were the bottom of the ancient lake.
Deseret Peak and the surrounding area are part of the Deseret Peak Wilderness and our public lands.
I admit that I was disappointed that I didn’t get to photograph the birds that I saw yesterday but I’m glad I went and got a healthy dose of nature.
Life is good.
An article that might be of interest: Sky Islands: Utah’s Stansbury Mountains