It’s Sawtooths, Part 2


WC described his trip to the Sawooths earlier. As magnificent as the scenery was, WC, as ever, mostly photographing birds. And found a few.

Spotted Sandpiper, Stanley Lake, Sawtooth NRA

Spotted Sandpiper, Stanley Lake, Sawtooth NRA

We get spoiled in Alaska, because there are lots of shorebirds. In the Intermountain West, they are uncommon. It was a treat to find this Spottie, still showing his signature spotted breast.

Red-naped Sapsucker, Stanley Lake, Sawtooth NRA

Red-naped Sapsucker, Stanley Lake, Sawtooth NRA

Sapsuckers are a woodpecker, who bring a baiting technique to the woodpecker business. They drill small holes in trees. Sap oozes out of the holes. The sap attracts bugs, which become stuck in the sap. Which provides a lunch for the sapsucker. You can understand how they got their name. You can see that it is misleading.

Western Tanager Male, Grandjean, Sawtooth NRA

Western Tanager Male, Grandjean, Sawtooth NRA

For camera geeks: this photo was taken in very low light. To get the image, WC had to shoot at ISO25,600. WC remembers when Kodak came out with ISO400 film. The sensor on WC’s camera is 300 times more sensitive.

Western Wood-Pewee, Alturas Lake, Sawtooth NRA

Western Wood-Pewee, Alturas Lake, Sawtooth NRA

A Wood-PeWee is a kind of flycatcher. You can see the specialized whiskery feathers around the base of the bill, called “vibrissae.” They help the flycatcher locate insects in flight. Note the grey “vest” on the chest, a distinctive field mark for this species.

The last bird was in Camas Prairie, south and a little west of Sawtooth NRA, but WC includes it because it was one the same trip and it was an Idaho first; the only bird of this species WC had seen before was in Florida.

American Bittern, Centennnial Marsh, Camas Prairie

American Bittern, Centennnial Marsh, Camas Prairie

The American Bitttern is uncommon and cryptic/ With its head extended, it blends incredibly well into the reedy habitat it favors.

All in all, the birds were as good as the scenery, although WC supposes they require a different kind of appreciation.

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