by Dave Hanks

 The snow is fluffily,
			“sifting” down.
		It leaves a thick “carpet-like” covering
				upon the ground.

		Its mystical magic
			that floats on the air.
		And it’s an invigorating joy
				to be out where –

		The wonders of life
			move to and fro.
		And lucky we are,
			that much I know,

		To have natural treasures
			so close at hand
		And everywhere present
			across sky and land

   Winter can be a good time to observe large mammals.
   Heavy snow makes movement inefficient for conserving 
   energy. Energy that is so important for winter survival, 
   when one must compete for the scarcity of available 
   food, and the energy to maintain body temperature under 
   cold conditions. The beasts are reluctant to move
   much, and if you are careful not to stress them, 
   you can get close up and personal.

Targee snow and moose

Don’t let Dreams Rob you of Joy!

An admonition I once heard in a speech has proven so very apt. It was: “Don’t let what you don’t have, keep you from feeling the joy in what you already have.” This truism, like so many others, is hard to put into practice. It is an admonition that has become more powerful to me the longer I live.

We have a drive to add quality and diversity to our wildlife photo files. This has necessitated much travel – sometimes in less than pleasurable conditions. We have looked for Barred Owls in Missouri, Varied Thrushes on the West Coast, and many other species in other states, only to return home and find many of them right here in Cassia County. Also, on two separate jaunts into the South Hills (once to look for Evening Grosbeaks and the other to find Red-Breasted Nuthatches) we were discouraged and returned home. But, WHOA! – Right on our front lawn were about 50 grosbeaks, and on another occasion the nuthatches were on the trunks of a couple of trees in our yard.

When we’re out and about, people are always asking if I have seen anything exciting. What they really want to know is, if I’ve seen a rare species. My reply is that everything I see is exciting – and I genuinely feel that way. It is strange to me that someone would spend big money to get to a location to get a glimpse of a rare bird, in order to put another check mark on their life list.

North Heglar Canyon has proven to be as good a photography spot as any others we’ve visited. We usually make a couple of trips there each year. Lake Cleveland is also quite productive. Our own yard has given us much joy. Three pair of orioles have been nesting here, plus two pair of grosbeaks. Hawks, buntings, tanagers, goldfinch, towhees, nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers, owls, and various mammals – all these and more we see here at home. I especially love grosbeaks: The Evening and the Black-Headed with his yellow front; orange, white, and black sides, and prominent beak, are grosbeaks we have around us regularly and are a source of great satisfaction!

A Black-Headed Grosbeak – Excitement here at home

A Black-Headed Grosbeak – Excitement here at home